Mystery Factory


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FREE Kids Party Games & SPY SCHOOL

Other Party Games

For Ages 1 – 4:

A Colour Party
Ask guests to come dressed in your child’s favourite colour. Get balloons, streamers, wrapping paper, etc in different shades of your colour, and borrow coloured sheets or blankets from your friends to drape over the furniture

The Treasure Hunt
Set up an easy treasure hunt for this age group by wrapping small treasures in different coloured or patterned paper. Give each child a piece of wrapping paper and have them find the matching treasure.

For Ages 2 – 5:

Animal Party
Get your guests to bring their favourite animal ‘stuffy’. Decorate the party place with animal pictures, have materials on hand for guests to make an animal mask when they arrive, serve animal crackers, play animal charades. You can do this with either a farm, jungle, or zoo animal theme
Try cutting out cardboard shapes of animal food – bones for dogs, mice for cats, carrots for rabbits, etc. Your guests decide which animal they want to be, then run around as that animal looking for their cardboard ‘food’. They can trade it in for real treats later – maybe cookies cut in the same shape!

Play them some upbeat music. Experiment by putting on some songs they know alternating with snappy songs from different ethnic cultures. It is easy to over-stimulate this age group so when they start to get ‘wild’ turn the music off and move on to the next thing.

Froot Loop Jewelry
This is a great activity for when children are arriving. Have a couple of bowls of froot loops or cheerios set out and pieces of string, wool or ribbon that can easily fit through the middle of the cereal. Let children make their own necklaces, bracelets or anklets while everyone arrives.

For Ages 5 and Up:

Magazine Hunt
This is a great backup activity for a rainy day. Put a stack of picture-rich magazines in the middle of the room, and have scissors for each child. Give them a list of items, or simple pictures if they can’t read yet, and ask them to find similar pictures in the magazines and cut them out. Tailor the list to the magazines on hand. After a set time, depending on age, give ‘prizes’ to everyone – and then let them make their own or a group collage.

For Any Age

Air Balloon
Start with half as many balloons as there are children. The balloons must stay in the air and no one can hit it more than two times in a row. Keep adding balloons and see how many the group can keep in the air. With younger children start with one balloon and let them hit it as many times as they need to.

Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
Give your hunters a paper with the alphabet down one side, and tell them to find one item that begins with each letter. Give them a time limit and a designated area and set them loose.

At the end of the party have decks of cards available for the children to play Fish, crazy eights, or to make card houses with while they wait to be picked up.

Who knew glue could be so much fun without making a mess. This recipe will create a fluid substance that holds its shape. Easy to make, easy to clean.
Mix together:  2 cups white glue & 1½ cups warm water
Combine: 1/3 cup water & 1 teaspoon Borax
Drizzle into glue mixture & stir.

Limbo Contest
Remember this one? Place a broom across the backs of two chairs and put on some music from the South Seas. Don’t forget to show them how it’s done!

Magic Eco System
Have a one or two litre clear plastic bottle for each child. Fill them – or let the kids fill them – with oil, vinegar, food colouring, glitter, sequins, small toys, etc. Seal the lids with glue or duct tape and let the kids enjoy shaking and watching them.

Nickel Rummage Sale
Have guests bring three to six items that they no longer play with to contribute to the sale. Price the items between 5 and 25 cents. Give each of the guests an envelope or purse with twenty nickels in it and let them go shopping. You’ll get your nickels back when they purchase items, and the players will get to go home with different toys. Have labeled bags ready for them to take their ‘purchases’ home in.

  • We are entertaining a group of 8 classmates for my daughter’s 13th birthday party. We have a boring early 1970s HOA pool, an empty clubhouse room, and some friendly neighbors in surrounding condos. What do you recommend for a great mystery backdrop to our pool party?

    • Add a bit of decor and your venue can become anything from an abandon villa on the Mediterranean to an elegant estate during the Age of Jazz / Roaring 20s or the public baths of an ancient lost civilization. It could become a set of a fantasy land like in the Narnia books, an desert oasis outpost, a haunted carnival any time in the last 100 years or a training ground for athletes or SPIES!

      Pick something you are passionate about. The more fun and excitement you put into creating it – the more fun and excitement your daughter’s guests will get out of it.

  • Hi,
    Thanks for the wonderful ideas.I’m all set to plan my 9year old daughter’s Detective Party,thanks to your games.

    • Glad to help! With a great dad and a fun theme it’s bound to be an unforgettable time. Memories are made …

  • Hi, I’m planning a party for my 11 (turning 12) year old sister. I’ve found some great ideas on this site but some of the ideas are a little bit for more younger kids. I was wondering if you had any other more “teenagererish” games and decorations. We also have a fairly large property that can be used for the games.

    • Sometimes the main difference between a child’s party and a teen party is the subject matter; change the subject matter, change the age range. Having a cluetrail is the same no matter what the age group or venue is. You need clues to prove whodunnit and it’s the ‘what they’ve done’ that gets upscaled or re-worked according to your group. Not currently having an eleven year old in the house I’m not sure of the hot topics in their world at this time.

      Are they too young for zombies or are zombies passe now? Maybe something based on their favourite book, tv show or video game. Maybe there is a particular theme in your area that would appeal to them; horses or a skatepark and like that. It’s often fun to combine a mystery party with a costume party. The participants can really get into it by dressing up as a character whether it is someone fictional or from their favorite video game characters or movie/tv show. I was surprized how much younger people love dressing up.

      My daughter started digging into the costume box at a young age and now she is sixteen she and her friends still dig into it only now they do it to make videos of themselves. Maybe your sister’s party could be based on a movie shot and an older teenager could run the video camera and play the director. In any case, ask your sister what exactly her and her friends are into to help you with this.

      Eleven year olds can be quite blase about death so I’m guess you could go with a murder mystery or a robbery. Set up a crime scene and hideouts for each of the suspects around your property. Scatter clues at the crime scenes for them to take note of and search out the solution from. Depending on your property and your group you could have clues to where clues could be found instead of setting up hideouts.

      A lot of this depends on how much time you have and how much work you want to go to. At the moment, and probably not for a while, I have nothing ready to go for teenagers but I would be glad to help you figure something out. Let me know.

  • I’m with Suzie! I would love those 6 things too! Or at least some Riddles and prints, Loads of Codes, and maybe Sneaky Puzzles? Thanks for all of this!

  • Ah. That’s coming up faster than the script will be ready. What I can do is give you a call and share some ideas with you – for free! If you’re interested send me your phone number and a good time to get in touch with you; include your time zone (I’m Mountain Standard Time). Email it to me at jrv(at) I’ll be happy to help you out.

  • Hi

    I would need it asap. I’m hosting a party next Saturday, March 2. Could you give me a bit of info about “Spy Hunt”, please?


  • Hi Suzie – I am currently polishing and spiffing up all of our Gumshoe Files. Do you have a party coming up or are you just wondering in general? There are four different events I am working on right now and if you have a specific date you need it by, tell me when and I’ll let you know if I can have it ready for you. It is called ‘Spy Hunt’ and will sell for $9.95 Cdn.

  • Hi

    How do I get “the Gumshoe PDFs” that include
    1) Crime Lab Cops
    2) Detective in the Dark
    3) Riddles & Prints
    4) Loads of Codes
    5) Sneaky Puzzles
    6) Clue Hunt and how much is it?

    Thank you.

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