Idea No.


CSI Detective Party 7yr



February 2007


Rocki in Nappanee, Indiana, USA

Runner Up


For my son, Cooper's seventh birthday he asked for a CSI party.  He has really never seen CSI on TV but I thought a detective/ secret agent party would be fun.  Our last name is Stillson so we called it a CSI (Cooper Stillson Investigations) party.   I sent out TOP SECRET invitations telling the boys that they had been recruited to solve a birthday crime.  I printed the invitations on the computer.  They also included a code word that the boys would have to use to enter the party, each code word was different.  All the codes had a color (either blue or red) and an animal.  So some of the codes were RED COBRA, BLUE SHARK, RED DOG, BLUE HORSE etc.  I used these codes later to split them up in teams for the games. (Reds or blues on one team, or animals with legs on one team, animals without legs on another team)   I borrowed some crime scene tape from a policeman friend that we used like streamers to decorate.  We had some balloons and fingerprinted tablecloth as well.  I taped a sign to the door that said CSI ONLY Authorized Personnel Past this Point   When the boys came in we sent them to my daughter where they gave their secret code and were scanned them for weapons (this was her idea) she used a black book light pretending it was a metal detector.   Then they were sent to Cooper's grandparents and were finger printed and received their i.d. badges.  I made badges on the computer that had a CSI emblem on them and detective printed with their name.  There was a small square where they had to put their fingerprint.  I also labeled small paper bags for each with the same badge glued on, this was for them to collect prizes and goodies in.  Once they placed their fingerprint on the badge it was placed in a clear plastic badge holder with a lanyard to wear around their necks.  It was good activity for the boys to do while they arrived.  Having my husband, daughter and in laws helping made it so I could take coats and greet the parents as everyone arrived.   Once everyone was fingerprinted and badged I asked the boys to sit in a circle to begin their detective training.  The first game we played was a variation on hot potato.  I found a CD that had detective theme music from all kinds of crime shows and movies.  I handed my son a small soft briefcase bag with envelopes inside, the boys passed this around until the music stopped and then the boy with the bag had to pull an envelope out and leave the circle.  This went on just like hot potato until one boy was the winner, he received the last envelope and a special prize, which was a mini flashlight.  Inside the envelopes the boys found a little notebook (I bought a 10 pack at Big Lots for $2.00), a pen and a mini magnifying glass (you can get these through Oriental Trading or educational supplies).  Now they had the equipment they needed for their next task.   We talked about how a detective has to use all his senses to solve crimes.  We then went to the CRIME LAB, which was another room of the house.  I had made signs on the computer to label as such.  I set up a 6-foot table with 2 stations and 2 other stations were at other locations in the room.  The first station was the fingerprint station.  I had taken 3 adults fingerprints and then labeled the cards A, B, C and then had a card with a set that matched one of the sets labeled SUSPECT.  The boys had to use their magnifying glasses to figure out which set matched the suspect.  I made 2 sets so that 2 boys could do this at one time.  They were to write in their notebooks the word fingerprint and then the letter that they thought matched.  The next station was the sound station. I made two sets for each station so that 2 boys could do this at once.  I got a bunch of empty film canisters by asking the Wal-Mart photo lab; I put three different scents in the containers and labeled them A, B, C.  I used coffee, a dryer sheet and perfume.  I put cotton balls on the top so they could not see what was in it.  Then I labeled an additional canister SUSPECT and filled it with a dryer sheet also.  The boys had to take the lid off and smell each one and decide which one smelled like the Suspect.   Next was the sound station An adult explained that as the suspect ran away something jingled in his pocket.  I put three different things in the canisters (coins, beads and paperclips) they had to shake the canister and listen to the sound and guess which sounded like the suspect.  The last station was boot prints.  I took 4 different but similar shoes, painted the soles with brown paint and stamped them on to a piece of poster board and labeled each with a letter. Then took one of the shoes and stamped it on a different piece of paper and labeled it suspect.  The boys went through each station and wrote in their notebook the station name and the letter of their guess.    After everyone was done we gave the answers and talked a little about what was hard and which was easy.  I explained another way a detective solves a crime is to ask questions.  We then played a game called Who am I?  I printed out animal names on large strips of paper. I would tape one of the animals on the back of a child and turn him around so that all the boys could read what animal he was.  The boy then had to ask 10 (or a few more) yes or no questions to try to figure out who they were.  They asked questions like do I live on a farm?  Am I dangerous? Do I have fur?  This game was a challenge for the mostly first grade crowd, but they seemed to love it.  They would roar with laughter when I would turn the child around to reveal the animal.  They especially liked when my son said, oh please don't make me an elephant. And of course I did.   Next we played a game called.Safe, Safe TRAP  I put 12 pieces of small wrapped candies (tooties rolls, suckers, bubble gum etc)  on a tray and the kids sat in a circle around the tray.  One boy is sent out of the room while another points to the piece of candy that is the trap.  The boy comes back in and points to a pieces of candy which he can keep if the group says safe, when he hits the one the TRAP piece everyone yells TRAP! and his turn is over.  I refilled the tray and the next boy goes out of the room and we repeat the game until everyone has had a turn.   We had a disguise relay.  I had two bags filled with a suit jacket, sunglasses, a hat and envelopes.  We broke into two teams that raced against each other.  They had to go to the bag, put on the items take an envelope out of the bag and place it in a box at the other end of the room, return to the bag and place all the disguise items back in the bag.  The winning team got small prizes.  All the boys got a plastic/felt detective hat (fedora), I got these from a party store (12 for $15.00). By then we were ready to have cake and Cooper opened his presents. I found plates and napkins and tablecloths that said TOP SECRET and had fingerprint motif at a party store. After the presents were done I explained to the kids that they had earned their detective badges but that someone had stolen the badges and that they would have to use their detective skills to find them.  I broke them into 2 teams and gave them each a balloon and told them that they would have to break the balloons to find the first clue.  Inside one balloon (for each team) was a clue that started off a treasure hunt that took them all over the house leading them from clue to clue.  Some of the clues were secret code messages. Some were just clues they had to figure out.  Here are some examples:  -   One of the clues told them to go to the lab where they could reveal a message written in invisible ink.  Each child got an index card that I had wrote a word on in white crayon, they used water color paint to reveal the word, when they put the hints together they found where to go next·  -   Another clue was to find someone who graduated in a certain year, they had to go to the adults and ask what year they had graduated.  When they found the right person that person gave them another clue·   One clue was wrote backwards and the hint was use your reflection to break the code.  -   A clue was found with a scent canister from the detective activity earlier. and a message that said, go to where you find this smell One team had the coffee container, they found the next clue in a coffee can I left on the kitchen counter.  The other team had the dryer sheet; they found the next clue in the dryer.  -  One clue had a small wrench attached to it and it said this was left at the crime scene, go to where you would put it away  They found their next clue in the toolbox in the basement workshop.  I did a similar clue for the other team taping a fork to the paper, leading them to the silverware drawer.  -  Other clues were items they had to figure out and find like the smallest bed in the house (the Barbie bed in my daughters dream house)  or William Shakespeare's big black book: (inside the pages of a Complete Works on the bookshelf)‚   -    The final clue for each team had a word cut into pieces that they had to rearrange to form the word.  DISHWASHER   and MICROWAVE   All the clues were a challenge but they did great, working with their teams to solve the clues.   The final clue revealed the place that I had hidden a manila envelope with a badge (the local sheriff office gave these to me) and plastic gold coins (which they could trade in for candy at the end of the party).   This was by far everyone's favorite part of the party.  They loved trying to figure the clues out and I was always on hand to help with a hint or two if either team was stuck. The party ended with some free play in the basement. I had made a big target out of felt and we used Cooper's nerf gun for some target practice.   I had another game prepared just in case but the timing couldn't have been more perfect.  Everyone went home with their badges, name tags, a hat, notebook, pen, magnifying glass, and candy.  I have heard that some of the boys have continued playing detective at home.  Cooper wrote his thank you's and delivered them at school and church. I also emailed photos of the party to the parents of the guests.   This party was a great success!   

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