3 Fun Detective Games For Kids That They’ll Love

Trying to think of detective games for kids to play on a rainy day or at your next birthday party? We’ve got three that your kids will love!


Like many of you, my childhood was filled with stories from famous detectives like Sherlock Holmes, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew. To get our own fix of being a detective, my siblings and I would often spend hours playing the board game Clue (or Cluedo as it’s known in the UK). We loved detective games for kids.

Even as modern times have led to a wave of technology that has decreased interest in reading fiction, the fact remains that humans are fascinated by mystery. Kids are especially susceptible to the intrigue of mystery, as they’re often able to see the world in a way that adults can’t.

To help quench this ongoing thirst for mystery, let’s take an in-depth look at three detective games for kids to play that you can set up for your child and their friends/siblings

1The Indoor Detective Game

Whether you’re looking for something to keep the kids busy or need an indoor activity for rainy days, there are plenty of fun detective games for kids that you can enjoy along with them. The Indoor Detective Game is one such option. Here’s how it works:

The Set Up

  • Think of an item that your child values. This can be a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or even a type of food or candy. The item you choose will be the last item they find.
  • Create a story for what happened to the item. Maybe it was stolen. Maybe it’s missing. You can be as creative as you’d like with this part.
  • Set up a series of 8-10 clues that lead to one another. Since this is one of the best detective games for kids at home, we like to use items that lead them to another area of the house. You can also, however, use notes. For example, we may start by giving them a fruit loop (which leads them to the cupboard). In the cupboard, we’ll put one of their figurines (which leads them to the toy box). And on and on this goes.
  • While the amount of clues you use is limitless, the game generally takes about 30-45 minutes with 8-10 clues.

Playing the Game

  • Once you’re set up, playing the game is as simple as allowing your child to think their way through each clue to move to the next.
  • And while you may need to provide a few hints along the way, it’s optimal to encourage your child to think through it themselves first.

2The Stolen Cake Detectives

This is one of my favorite detective games for kids to play at parties. It’s also a great way to get the adults involved. Here’s how it works:

The Set Up

Create a storyline about how the cake was stolen, along with who stole it, and use a tape recorder (or a smartphone) to describe to the kids the mission of finding the person responsible.

  • Have 3-4 adults volunteer as suspects. Choose one to be the thief.
  • Have the kids divide up into teams (try to align the teams with the amount of adult suspects).
  • Prepare questions that the kids can ask each suspect. It’s also fun to get the kids thinking creatively by coming up with their own questions.

Playing the Game

Each team gets five minutes to sit down with each suspect and question them. They can use the questions you’ve prepared or ask their own if they’d like. We try to keep it to two questions per kid.

  • Once every team has questioned each suspect, have the teams deliberate for 2-3 minutes and decide who stole the cake.
  • Once they’ve made a decision, have each team write down who they think is the thief.
  • The teams who got it right get served first when the cake is found.
  • To make this even more fun for the kids, we use a ‘chief of police’ that takes the culprit away after they’ve been discovered as the thief.

While there are a lot of details that you can customize within this game, we’ve found this to be one of the most interactive and fun detective games for kids.

3The Mystery Object Game

This is a super simple detective game that you and your kids can play anywhere. Here’s how it works:

The Set Up

  • Find a medium-sized cardboard box and put two holes in it. You’ll want to be sure that the kids can reach far enough inside the box but can’t see what’s inside.
  • Choose 8-10 items that you can fit in the box. We like to use items that will become prizes so try to have as many items as you do kids.

Playing the Game

  • Without the kids seeing, place an item into the box.
  • Have them reach into the box and guess what’s inside. We generally give them 3 guesses each.
  • If they get it right in three guesses, they get to keep the prize. If they get it wrong, the next person is up.
  • Anyone who got it wrong the first time gets to go again after each kid has gone. We do this until each kid has a prize (you may need to give clues if they’re having trouble).

If your children and their friends enjoy a good mystery, these games will keep them occupied and having fun for hours. Give them a shot and let us know what you think!

Also read:
6 Great Ideas For Kids’ Birthday Parties