Children enjoy using problem-solving skills to play detective games. Kids can play detective games at home or at school. No matter where they play, solving mysteries never grows old. While kids are enjoying themselves, they will be developing and honing reasoning and critical-thinking skills.
Who Am I?
Successful detectives use deductive reasoning. Play a game of "Who Am I?" to hone deductive reasoning. The website Birthday Party Games Lady describes this game. Determine a theme, such as "Harry Potter" or "Pirates of the Caribbean," that kids are familiar with. Write names of characters from the book or movie on index cards. Tape or pin a card on each player's back. Each player approaches other players, asking yes-or-no questions to determine the name of the character on his or her back.
When cars are involved in crimes, detectives must match tire tracks to vehicles that criminals may have used. Play a game about gathering evidence by making tire track impressions. Ask two or more friends to make tire tracks in dirt or sand with their bikes. Do not watch them do it. Decide in advance which of the bikes will be the crime vehicle. Using a paste of plaster of Paris and water, make a cast of each tire track. (Visit the website Disney Family Fun for detailed instructions for making a cast.) Remove the cast when dry. Match the impressions against the bike tires to determine which was the crime vehicle.
The board game "Clue" leads players through a mansion in which a murder has been committed. Players ask probing questions, room by room, to solve the mystery. The winner deduces the murder weapon, where the murder took place, and the murderer.
Before a party, hide a trinket for each child who will attend. One of the hidden objects should be more valuable than the other items--an inexpensive child's watch will do. When the children arrive, tell them that there are objects hidden around the house or yard. One of the items is a treasure and the child who finds it is the winner. Let the kids know that they can claim only one object each.