Idea No.


American Girl -10yr- American Girl Dectectives



January 2006


Sharon in Grayson, GA 30017

Runner Up

Mystery Party

AMERICAN GIRL MYSTERY PARTY- Let me start off by saying that I LOVE to throw children's birthday.  So the fun part for me is in the details.  For my daughter's 10th birthday I threw an American Girl Mystery Party.  I got the idea from the American Girl website but didn't like the format of their party and didn't want to purchase the party kit.

INVITATIONS:  I decided to make a pillow invitation with a pillowcase.  I found red fabric with stars (like the American Girl stars) at JoAnn's and used this for the pillowcase. I used my sewing machine to make 3"X4" pillows.  I then printed out the invitations on white cardstocks.  The invitations had the American Girl logo at the top.  The title  of the party: Mystery Slumber Party, a picture copied from the site of a girl with one of the American girls in their PJs,and the specifics (date, time, location, and what to bring).  I then folded these in half and sewed around three parts of the pillow.  I left the 4th side open and stuffed it with cotton.  Once it was stuffed I sewed the 4th side closed.  These were then put in an envelope (because of the puffiness they were considered bulk mail) with a sticker that read, " American Girl Party". I used editing software to make a watermark on the birthday party table American Girl sells.

DECORATIONS: I bought 5 different streamer colors and created a tent like effect.  All five colors were adheared to the center of the ceiling and then extended to four corners of the ceiling. This was repeated for each corner.  In addition I made a birthday sign that said "Happy Birthday, Iman".  This was decorated with pictures I printed out of the dolls from the American Girl website. The rest of the house was decorated with balloons and more happy birthday signs. I wanted plates similar to the ones sold on the American Girl site and found some colorful ones at Target.  I also wanted the dolls to have their own paper products so I bought an extra set of desert plates and bought dixie cups for the dolls.  So that the dixie cups matched the plates I covered them with construction paper. (To make an easy template for the doll cuts take one cup apart and use it to trace the covers for the others).

FOOD:  To make it easy on myself we had pizza, chips, and juice.  Later for happy birthday they had cupcakes (arranged like a round cake) and made their own sundaes.  For sundae toppings they had a choice of M & Ms, oreos, whipped cream, strawberry and chocolate syrup, nuts, sprinkles, and cherries.  Even later during the movie they were given popcorn (and more pizza if they wanted it).  The popcorn was served in plastic popcorn containers (found in the dollar section of Target.

Activities: 1.  When guest arrived they signed an American Girl birthday pillow (ordered from the American Girl site). 
2.  They had their picture taken for their detective license.  The license was template I set up in word that signed American Girl Detective License.  There was room for them to fill in their name, height, weight, eye color, hair color, signature, and date issued. I imported their pictures onto the template while they were eating.  I also had a height chart and a scale set up for them.  I found name tag holders at Staples and then wore them around their neck with red string.
3. They signed the back of T-shirts that had the American Girl logo and pictures of dolls on the front.  To make the logo I used PowerPoint and typed AMERICAN GIRL, inserted the stars from the draw tools.  I then flipped the image into a mirror shape.  I then found 4 pictures of the historical dolls and one picture of an AMERICAN GIRL doll today. And arranged them in a row underneath the American Girl logo.  Underneath I wrote, "Iman's 10th Birthday".  I printed these on iron on paper and ironed them onto T-shirt for each doll.  To save money I bought men's small undershirts sold 5 in a pack.  To prevent the ink from bleeding to the other side when they signed I inserted poster board into each shirt. 

MYSTERY PART:  Each part of the clues had an American Girl picture or something related to American Girl to keep with the theme. To begin the party each girl had to be trained. The training were simplied versions of the real mystery (read below)  They worked in partners to learn how to solve the following types of clues:  reading invisible ink (pens sold through Oriental Trading), breaking code, being a good eyewitness, solving puzzles, remembering details, piecing together a ransom note, and figuring out a hidden message.  Once they were able to solve these they were told they were now detectives and ready to begin solving the mystery of what their craft would be for the night.  They were then handed their badges which now had their pictures so they could fill out the rest of the information.   Ahead of time I hid the clues around the house.  The girls were told to bring any clues they found back to kitchen area and that each of them would take turns solving the clues. 

These are the clues we had. 
1.  Invisible Ink  (I printed a paper that said read me, and they used their pens to read the message) To make something special For you and your doll Find the clues And solve them all.  You sit at me to eat,  With chairs all around In the kitchen Is where I can be found. (hand this clue to them)
2.  Code (I used the code font available in Microsoft Word) I hide most anything And lots of junk Clothing mostly And they hang a lot (hide under kitchen table)
3.  Eye Witness Report (I cut up about 30 pics from the American Girl catalog and put them collage form on a poster board.  They were given 1 minute to stare at the picture and then were asked questions.  If they answered correctly they received a piece of the puzzle.  I had four questions so they received a line of the clue at a time) I'm in most every house But have my own mouse Sometimes fish are seen To protect my screen. (hide in closet)
4.  Hidden Message (I printed the letter poster board size- 4 sheets- and pieced them together.  They had to circle every 4th letter to reveal the message below.) I am so cool, You use me a lot, For milk and eggs, Veggies and pop. (hide in playroom)
5.  Puzzles ( I bought blank puzzles from JoAnn's and wrote two lines on each 16 piece puzzle) We come in beige or white Sitting side by side We wash and we dry And love that Tide (hide on fridge)
6.  Scrambled Ransom Note ( typed the note and then changed each letter to different fonts and colors.  You can also download ransom fonts but I didn't like them as much.  I then cut the note apart and separated each line into a different envelope (I labeled them so they would know which order to read them). People sit on me In ones, two, & threes I hope you find me soon I'm in the living room (hide in laundry room)
7.  Doll Elimination ( I printed pictures of the dolls and mounted them on poster board.  I then wrote 6 clues that would eliminate dolls (kinda like the game "Guess Who".  They opened the envelope (which were numbered) for the doll that was left). Rub-a-dub-dub You soak in me. Please don' fall II' can be slippery (living room)
8.  Ending Congratulations! You solved the mystery Take the items in the bag And put them together (Hide in bathroom tub) Note:  All the clues or directions where in manilla envelopes.  If the clues were large (code, hidden message, etc.) then the envelopes were attached to the posterboard. 

The girls had a BLAST! They loved running around the house to find the different clues. They were so excited when they found the bag that contained items for them to make a bracelet (or necklace) for both them and their doll.  Most of them ended up making a couple pieces for both them and their dolls. 

OTHER STUFF:  Once they were finished with the jewelry making they settled in to watch "Samantha: An American Girl". They loved having their popcorn in a container like they were at the movies.  Afterwards they were free to do as they wanted for the rest of the night.  I had bought a few mystery games, "Stare", "30 Second Mysteries", and "20  Questions" which they could choose from.  However they spent most of their time talking and playing with other toys.  Also my daughter opened her presents at midnight (the start of her real birthday) and I had each girl stand next to her while she opened the gift.  This allows each child to get up close, serves a reminder of what each child gave for the thank you notes, and I like to include the picture (and others from the party) with the thank you notes.  They ended up going to bed about 2:30 and woke at 8:30.  We had a simple breakfast of donuts, cereal (I had 4 from them to chose from), toast, and juice).  The party was from 5:30 PM-10:00 AM. 

GOODY BAGS:  T-shirt, blacklight pen (OT), lollipop, "More Games and Giggles" by American Girl, a mini notebook, the jewelry they made, and a candy bar with a candy wrapper I made that said Happy Birthday Imani which included an American Girl picture on the front and "nutritional" info on the back.  I used sticker paper to adhere it.  My daughter and all of her friends (she invited 8) had a GREAT time and couldn't stop talking about how much they enjoyed it.  My 4 year old is already talking about what she wants for her birthday and her birthday isn't until August.

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