Monday, February 23, 2009

Nancy Drew Birthday Party, Part 2

Alright, let's get right down to it... How many mom's are just terrified of organizing a mystery hunt? Okay I guess it was just me.

For this, part 2, of the NDBP (Nancy Drew Birthday Party) we will uncover simple yet theme inspired party crafts, and how you too can plan a big mystery hunt.

Craft Project:
To set up, we used a 6ft table, covered in paper and little baskets full of supplies. There was glittery foam stickers, paint, dot markers, glue sticks, jewels, sticky foam sheets and crayons.

the birthday girl's personalized ID badge

For that "official" feeling, I created an "ID Badge" for each child, with their name, a space for them to draw their own face and put a fingerprint. After they were done with their badges, I put them in plastic holders and tied them with a ribbon to wear around their necks.

these kids had so much fun decorating (click to enlarge)

Next, each child had a clue journal to decorate. I found these at (where else) Oriental Trading Co. These were a spiral bound notebook with a canvas feeling cover, good for paint or even crayons.

Mystery Hunt:
I was able to hide most of the clues before the party even started, but a few were left to the very last minute, just in case someone stumbled upon it. I had the moms take the kids out front until everything was finished, and while they were out there, they were given some guidelines (okay, rules). I divided the kids into two teams - I did this myself so that no feelings would be hurt by a child not being picked - and put a strip of colored tape on their shirt (blue or orange). Each team had a mom helper also with tape on them.

Both teams would search for the same clues, just in a different order (then maybe it wouldn't feel like a race, and nobody would get trampled). Each clue was put into a ziplock bag with a strip of team tape on it, so you wouldn't accidentally grab the other team's clue. Some of the baggies also had a puzzle piece to collect (more on that at the end of the mystery hunt description).

Here were my clues, printed out on plain paper and taped to a 4x6 card of our purple and black question mark design.

Clue hunters, hard at work (click to enlarge)

1) a close up photo of my washing machine
2) inside the washing machine, "not the wet but the DRY"
3) inside the dryer, "Mirror, mirror on the wall... Who is the fairest of them all?"
4) taped to my full length closet mirror, "find a way to press PLAY" (this was printed backwards)
5) the tv/DVD player in the bedroom, when they pressed play it revealed a close up photo of the numbered storage lockers in our mudroom
6) inside the number 32 locker, "You are nearby, which TWO numbers added equal SEVEN?"
7) inside locker number 25, "A secret massage has been MAILED to you, hurry!"
8) inside the mailbox along with a magnifying glass was the clue printed very tiny, "go to the shelf with all the toys. find the toy car with your team color tape on the bottom. you will be given your next clue."
9) they handed the mom their team toy car and were given a close up photo of the microwave in our pretend kitchen
10) inside the toy microwave, "LEMON aid for sale! Get your LEMON aid here!"
11) at the lemon tree in the backyard was a baggie with play dough in it and a clue that read, "I’m lost! Can you help me find my home?"
12) in the playdough drawer (yes, i have a play dough drawer), "Don’t get WET in this place you get CLEAN, just look for your clue near the DRAIN."
13) in the bathtub was a cell phone, a mom was standing nearby and called the number to tell the team to meet at the fireplace.

blank puzzle from Oriental Trading Co. hand illustrated (click to enlarge)

If your family is at that stage where the children really don't feel comfortable with competitions, then this might work well for you. Remember the puzzle pieces they were collecting? Well, each team only had half of the pieces for the final puzzle, they had to all come together to put the pieces in to solve the mystery of the "What is missing from this party?" The puzzle led them to the pantry where the goodie bags were hiding. It was SPECTACULAR! and it took the kids a while to get through the game.

black tote bags filled with spy equipment

UPDATE: This printable collection is now available in our Etsy store! Only $5 for the entire set.

6 comments: said...

WOW! What a creative birthday idea, I love this! I'll have to link to this in an upcoming Birthday Party Roundup, so creative!

Saucy said...

Oh my gosh this is just the cutest funniest idea ever, I bet the kids really liked it.

Unknown said...

Sooo adorable and creative! Right down to the personalized Id badges! :)
How long does this party take to plan out? I would love to organize one sometime

Hana @

abigail @ Paper and Cake said...

thanks ladies!

rachel~ i would love for you to include me in your "roundup"!

saucy~ the kids are still talking about it.

hana~ i usually start planning weeks/months in advance, but this time i was so busy with other things i figured out most of the details the week of. want more specifics? email me :)

amy & lisa said...

This is so cool! Thanks so much for sharing. Keeping this for inspiration. :)

I love your blog and gave you an award. :)

Amber Louise said...

Wow!! This is really impressive! Very inspiring! I love your inclusion of the actual clues-some great ideas!