Spy and Mystery Games for Kids

The Best Detective Games

Let me tell you a little story about the origin of this page. We had to organize a birthday party for my 7 year old son. And we decided on the Detective theme. The following games and activities were part of the I Spy birthday party, which we had set up using a recording of a mystery message telling the kids that they had to go through a detective training first, before they could solve the mystery. The message was delivered on a CD left on the front porch without anyone at the door….

After the training came the mystery which was like a treasure hunt that lead to a VERY long yarn all over the yard, around the house and leading to……the birthday cake!
This party with all these fun activities was such a huge success, that we did it two years in a row and still the kids left the party exclaiming that this was the best party EVER !

We made these fun detective games ourselves. All you need is a few cardboard boxes, computer with internet, tape and paper. And not to mention (the hardest) time. But it was time well worth it 🙂

But of course you can also stick with the well known family games such as Clue or Scotland Yard.
For kids really into the detective games, there are also games and detective gear on the market. Always good as a gift idea or as a fun family activity.

Get Detective EYES !

Footprint search

All you need for this fun detective game is a few large white papers and pencils. Have all the children trace one shoe or foot with the pencil on the paper. Make sure all the children do the same: or everybody’s shoe or everybody’s foot. Then you shuffle the papers and hide them at some place. The children have to go on a search to find them and you can give them clues where to look.

Message Chain

This one is my favorite. You have to prepare this in advance, but the kids really LOVE this fun indoor or outdoor detective game. Even the preparation is fun to do. Be creative and think smart.

Prepare a couple of messages and organize them into a trail through your house or outside. Each message should contain a small task the children need to do, like looking for a certain object, make the puzzle, collect items etc. and each message needs to point to the next one. Put some candy or a snack at the destination point and tell the kids in the first message that the trail will lead them to a tastful surprise at the end, the kids will even be more motivated.

The messages can be even made more fun by printing them very, very small so the kids have to look for a magnifying glass first, or print the message backwards, so they have to look for a mirror. Glue the message on the back of a small puzzle and then cut the pieces loose again. Write in riddles, so the children have to think real hard to solve the mystery where to go next.

Well, be creative and have fun!

Get Detective Ears !

Guess the sounds
Take your computer and search on the internet for free sound clips. They are easy to find and you have lots of choices.

Have the children sit at the table and listen to the different sounds. They then have to guess what the sound is.

Give the children pen and paper so they can write down what they think they hear or keep score yourself. The child with the most sounds right is the winner. Easy, fun and exciting indoor game for real detectives!

Get Detective Fingers !

Guess what’s inside ?

This game is best prepared before. Take some cardboard boxes and put some small objects inside. Cut out two holes, big enough so the children can put their hands through the hole, so they can feel what’s inside.

Try to find some interesting materials to feel. Something sticky, something soft, something slimy or ……

If you running out of ideas, just small toys work good as well. It is pretty difficult for the kids to feel exactly what it is they are feeling. But real detectives love to do this.

Fun Detective Games

The Knot

All children put their arms in the air and walk to each other at the same time. Then they grab two other hands and keep holding them until all children have to other hands. Now everybody has to hold their grip strong and the children have to try to unty the knot without letting go of the other persons hand. Instant fun!


The children can enter the room and they all take a good look around. Then they have to leave, while you take away an item from the room. Or you just swith two items from their place. Then the children can come in again and have to decide which item is missing or is replaced. If it is too difficult you can give them riddles or clues.

Follow the yarn

A quick game. Make a trail with yarn and let that go over, under and around the furniture in the room. Lay the yarn close together, so they cannot skip the object, but they have to follow to see which thread is the right one. So you lay the yarn in one big maze, which goes over and under itself and your furniture. The children have to crawl over, under and around your obstacles to follow the yarn.

Enjoyed these games?

Get MORE with the Best Children’s Games Guide !

This book contains 130 pages of our best indoor, outdoor, card and dice games.
And the newest version also contains the best travel games and activities!
This will keep your kids entertained during long summer travel trips:)


See the Best Children’s Games Guide on Amazon


Detective Games on the Market

Classic Games

detective game, clu
Family Game CLUE
Detective Game, Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard
Detective Kits
active detective, detective kit

Looking for More Fun Indoor Games?

May we suggest you take a look at the following great ideas to keep the kids busy indoors:


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