Detective Activities for Kids


See without being seen with this fun and easy-to-make periscope.
See without being seen with this fun and easy-to-make periscope.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

These detective activities for kids are ideal for children who enjoy a good mystery story. The literary tradition is full of great sleuths like Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and the Hardy Boys. Immerse yourself in all of the fascinating aspects of a classic mystery with these indoor activities.

So get ready to peak around corners and over tabletops, write secret messages in invisible ink, and reinvent your favorite classic mystery story. You may also want to dress up as your favorite sleuth -- just to get yourself in the right frame of mind. And then, as Sherlock Holmes would say ... the game is afoot!

Secret Message-Making Activity

Try this secret message-making activity and write messages in secret ink for your closest friends and family.

Periscope Activity

Peak around corners and from behind tabletops with this periscope activity. The object is to see without being seen.

Mystery Story Activity

Do you enjoy a good mystery? If you do, then try this mystery story activity. You'll have so much fun creating new twists and turns for your favorite characters.

Or, you can jump right in and begin with our secret message-making activity on the next page. Continue reading to find out more.

For more fun activities and crafts, try:

Secret Message-Making Activity

Try this secret message-making activity and write an invisible message -- then amaze your friends by making it appear out of nowhere! This activity is ideal for children who enjoy easy crafts.

What You'll Need:

  • Lemon juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Milk or baking powder
  • Paper
  • Paintbrush or cotton swab
  • Scrap paper
  • Iron

Invisible messages can be written using several different kinds of substances. You can experiment with different "secret inks." Try writing messages with lemon juice, grapefruit juice, milk or baking powder.

Write your message on a piece of paper using a paintbrush or a cotton swab. Write carefully because you won't be able to see the message while you're writing it!

To make the message appear, have an adult help you place the message paper between two sheets of scrap paper on an ironing board and then iron the papers with a warm iron.

Your message will appear as if by magic -- but it is really a chemical reaction that happens quickly because of the heat of the iron.

Continue reading to learn more about our periscope activity on the next page.

For more fun activities and crafts, try:

Periscope Activity

Peak around corners and over table tops with this fun periscope.
Peak around corners and over table tops with this fun periscope.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Try this periscope activity and turn an empty waxed paper box into a spy tool for looking around corners, over walls and out of windows. If you enjoy easy crafts, then this fun periscope activity is ideal!

What You'll Need:

  • Empty waxed paper box
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Two small mirrors (about two by three inches)

How to Make a Periscope:

Step 1: Ask an adult to cut off the cutting edge of the box. Tape the box closed with masking tape. Cut out a small square on the top end of one side of the box.

Step 2: Cut another small square out at the bottom end of the opposite side of the box. On a third side (a side between the two sides with the cutout holes) cut a diagonal slit at each end of the box.

Step 3: Cut each slit so that the bottom of the slit is level with the bottom edge of one of the cutout squares, and the top of the slit is level with the top edge of the cutout square. The bottom slit's bottom should be close to the cutout hole and slant away from the hole. The top slit should slant in the same direction as the bottom one.

Step 4: Cut identical slits on the opposite side of the box. Each slit should be a little bit wider than the mirror width so the mirrors will fit in the slits.

Step 5: Slide a mirror into each slit. If the mirrors are one-sided, slide them in so the reflective sides face the holes. Secure the mirrors in place with tape.

Hold the periscope upright, and look into the hole at the bottom. You'll see what's caught in the reflection from the top hole!

On the next page you'll learn to write your own mystery story. Continue reading to find out more.

For more fun activities and crafts, try:

Mystery Story Activity

Try this mystery story activity and unlock the mystery of mystery writing. This activity is ideal if you enjoy easy crafts and a good mystery.

What You'll Need:

  • Classic mysteries (such as Sherlock Holmes)
  • Notebook
  • Pens

Mysteries are some of the most popular books sold in the United States and around the world. But what's the secret to a good mystery? The hidden treasure? The butler? The mysterious house guest?

As you read your favorite mystery, take a few notes. Keep track of the secrets your fictional sleuth uncovers as he or she goes about solving the mystery. Then rewrite key scenes, changing those secrets.

How would your changes affect the outcome of the story? Only you can decide!

For more fun activities and crafts, try: