How to Design a Birthday Detective Game

by Kyra Sheahan
Pass out detective props to make the game more realistic.

Pass out detective props to make the game more realistic.

Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

A detective game that you create is an entertaining birthday party activity for guests. When you host a party for young kids you can keep the chaos at a minimum by pre-planning the main activities and giving them something to focus on that keeps their attention. A detective game raises the suspense and inspires guests to use their minds and think creatively to solve the clues. Design your detective game based on the age group of the party-goers so it's appropriate and not too difficult.

Items you will need

  • Toy magnifying glasses
  • Index cards
  • Map
  • TV or computer
  • Theme music
Step 1

Identify the mystery that you want party-goers to solve. You might want them to solve a murder mystery, find a stolen treasure chest or locate the missing piece of birthday cake. Once you've established the theme, you can work backwards to plan out the steps.

Step 2

Make a list of detective clues on index cards. Start with one clue that leads to the next clue, which leads to the next clue, and so on, until your little detectives arrive at their conclusion. For instance, one clue might be a riddle that says, "I am large and white, and when you close me I shut off my light." The answer is the refrigerator. So, a new clue will be waiting for the detectives at the refrigerator.

Step 3

Place your clue cards around your house, according to the order in which the players should find them. Hide the clue cards as best you can. For instance, the clue card waiting for the detectives at the fridge can be inside of the fridge, taped to the milk carton.

Step 4

Make a map of your house on aged paper. Disfigure the map a little by burning the edges and making it look old. Rename the rooms in your home on the map. For example, instead of saying Kitchen, label it "Cook's Dungeon."

Step 5

Use interactive media in the game. You can make a video of yourself reading a new clue to the detectives, which they watch on the TV or computer. Or play the lyrics to a song that gives a clue about where the detectives should search next.

Step 6

Place your treasure or mystery object at the last stage of the game. If the detectives are solving the mystery of where the missing slice of cake went, they might find the cake hanging in a birdcage outside. If you want them to discover a treasure chest, you can bury one underneath dirt in your backyard and have them dig it up as the grand finale.

Step 7

Play theme music in the background. If you're giving your detective game a murder mystery theme, your background music might play sounds like creaking stairs, slamming doors and howling wind.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pass out toy magnifying glasses so game players really feel like detectives.
  • If you're hosting a detective game at night, turn out the lights and play the game in a candlelit atmosphere.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images