Help your kids become the next Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew with these fun mystery and detective games for kids. They’ll be so excited to use their detective skills to solve the different challenges in each thrilling game.
Let them pretend to be real detectives solving a mystery with the clues and practicing their deductive reasoning.
You’ll find tons of different detective activities from mystery board games to escape room games, I Spy and scavenger hunts. Enjoy these as fun birthday party games, school games, family game night, or just when you’re stuck at home on a rainy day.
I am telling you once your kids start playing these fun detective games they are going to be hooked!
Go through our list of the best detective games and find the perfect mystery activity for your kids.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.
Detective Games & Activities Kids Will Love
Let’s get you ready to have a lot of fun playing all kinds of exciting mystery games and detective games with your kids. These are all great games to play with the whole family or a group of children at a party.
If you’re planning a mystery-themed party, make sure to read to the end to get our party planning tips & tricks for Detective parties.
Fun Detective Games & Activities
This is a great game for your little detectives. You’re going to create a sensory bin with shredded paper and small figures to find.
Start by finding small figures you already have at your house or pick some up at Dollar Tree. You’ll need two of each figure. For example, I found dice, cars, and small animal figures in my house to use.
Next, hide one of the pairs of matching figures in a bin and mix it with your shredded paper. Then lay the other matching figure next to the bins so the kids know what they are searching for to find a match.
Give your kids a magnifying glass and have them start searching the bin for the matching figures. Once they find a small figure in the bin have them match it up to the figures outside the bin
If they enjoy this game grab these Free Printable I-Spy Game Worksheets to play too.
Let the kids write an invisible message to each other with invisible ink. Then help your little detective decode the message.
What You Need for the secret ink: baking soda, water, Q-tip, paintbrush, paper, and grape juice.
First, in a bowl add equal parts of baking soda and water. Then let the kids dip their Q-tips into the baking soda mixture and write a message on their paper.
Kids can also write a note with a pen on the paper as a disguise that there is a secret message hidden. When done allow the paper to then completely dry.
Once it’s dry you can reveal the secret message by using grape juice. Kids will dip a paintbrush into the grape juice and paint over the note to reveal the secret message. The grape juice will react with the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda and change the color.
I have also read that you can make the reveal by heating up the paper with a light or a candle. But we didn’t have much luck with this method.
If it’s a party activity give the kids a detective riddle to solve and have them write their answer as the secret message. Make sure to start this at the beginning of the party so the note has time to dry then do the reveal at the end to see who got the riddle right.
DIY Detective Game
Let the kids get creative with this easy DIY Detective Game. They’ll be solving the mystery of the missing teddy bear.
Here’s how you play – Have one child hide a stuffed animal for the other kids to find. The child who hides the stuffed animal needs to give the other kids 3 clues to find it.
Little kids can just say the three clues to each other.
While older kids can write down the three clues. Then give the players the first clue and hide the other clues at each spot getting closer to the hidden object kind of like a scavenger hunt.
This is a great rainy day activity to keep your kids busy for hours.
Head to the beach where you’ll find tons of footprints from kids, adults, dogs, birds, and more. Have your kids follow a set of footprints to see where it will go.
Use the clues around you and your detective skills to determine where the person or animal was headed.
As your walk talk with your kids and ask them questions about what the person or animal was doing at the beach. You’ll come up with all kinds of fun & silly ideas as you walk.
Escape Room Games
Become the next ultimate detective by playing Escape Room Games. These thrilling games are really awesome detective mysteries.
Kids will follow a storyline and complete different challenges to “Escape the Room”. They’ll have to use their detective skills to uncover the series of clues and logic puzzles. The goal of the game is to find the right answer to all the questions before the end of the game. Yes, there is a timer!
This is a great game to play with the entire family or at an escape room birthday party. There are tons of fun Escape Room Game kits for all ages from 5 years old to Teens.
We love to use the printable escape room games from Escape Room Geeks and Lock Paper Scissors. Their complete kits make it easy to play by including everything you’ll need in one printable packet. You can look through their different storylines to find ones that fit your child’s personality, age and party theme.
Check out my review of the best printable escape room games for kids and find the perfect game for your kids.
Send your kids on an exciting treasure hunt throughout your house with these free printable Treasure Hunt Clues. Kids will need to solve the riddle to find the next clue leading them to a hidden treasure.
Mystery Board Games
A fun way to spend time with your kids is by playing Mystery board games. Pretend you’re in detective training and see who can win the board game and become the best detective.
These are great ideas for family games nights too!
Kids Age – 8-12 years old
In this Spy Alley board game, you’ll use hidden identities to try and become the Ultimate Spy. Players will need to rely on deductive reasoning and logic to win. Plus you’ll try and read your opponent’s body language to get clues.
Spy Alley is a fun game that’s easy to learn and a perfect pick for a family games night.
Kids Age – 8 & Up
Clue is a classic whodunit game families have loved for years. You’ll be solving the murder mysteries and meeting the ghost of Mr. Bobby. Your goal is to use the clues on the game board to figure out who the murderer is, what the weapon was, and which room it happened in by the end of the game.
Try and solve the mystery before the rest of the players to win the game of Clue.
Kids Age – 5 & Up
If you have young kids try playing Clue Junior where you’ll solve the case of the broken toy. A great starter game for your little detectives and they’ll have so much fun.
The Family Treasure Hunt Game
Kids Age – 3-10
Do your kids love to do scavenger hunts and treasure hunts but you don’t have time to make them up? Then the Family Treasure Hunt Game is the perfect game for you.
It has treasure hunts to do outside and inside. The game includes riddles as clues with either pictures or words depending on your child’s age. Plus a fun loot bag with items to find.
What I like about Family Treasure Hunt is it keeps your kids active and running all over your house or backyard while also teaching them to think critically and solve the riddle.
Unsolved Case Files
Work together as a family to figure out who stole the Honey the bunny in this fun game of Unsolved Case Files. You’re acting as a 6th-grade student who is tasked by the principal to solve the mystery.
Use your detective skills to solve 3 objectives. 1. Your innocent, 2. Identify Real Culprit 3. Find Honey the Bunny.
The game includes all the case files, pictures, and evidence you’ll need to help you become the forensic detectives needed to solve the case.
Throw a Detective Theme Party
Your party guests will have a blast playing detectives and trying to solve the mystery games. They could even dress up as detectives or in their favorite costumes and pretend they are spies.
Our favorites detective theme for parties is an Escape Room Birthday Party. They’re easy to host and are always a huge hit.
How to Host a Detective Party
Kids Activities & Mystery Game
Decide on fun activities and games to play at the party. Give each kid a special agent detective badge to wear to set the theme.
Begin the party with the invisible ink activity. You can read them a detective riddle or asked them a question about the upcoming escape room game. Then ask them to write their answer in invisible ink. At the end of the party see who wrote the right answer.
After that play some detective games. Our favorite to do is to play Escape Room Games but any of the games above would work great also.
Challenge the kids to make it through a DIY laser maze. The kids could go through the maze as the final challenge of the escape room game. Or use it to get to the birthday cake.
Add to the detective theme on the birthday cake or cupcakes with these cute detective theme toppers.
Party Favors Bags
Turn the birthday into a slumber party with these fun things to do at a Sleepover with easy ideas, games & activities.
Are you ready now to have a blast with your kids playing mystery and detective games? I hope it will spark curiosity and excitement in your kids to solve mysteries.
Need More Party Game Ideas?
Visit our kid’s party page or check out some of these favorites below.
If you enjoyed this article, become part of the Happy Mom Hacks Community where we strive to make a mom’s life easier.
Get our weekly newsletter with fun kids activities, family travel ideas, easy weeknight meals, household hacks, and more.
Bonus – you’ll get our free printable Would You Rather Questions for Kids. A fun game to play at your next party, family game night, or road trip.