Monday, June 07, 2010

Nancy Drew Party- The Mystery

This was by far the hardest part of the party. I underestimated just how hard it would be. It was Thursday night, 2 days before the party and I still couldn't figure out who took Jada, why and how I was going to leave clues for the girls. How does one go about writing a mystery for 8 year old's to solve? At 11pm it came to me. At least most of it.

Super Sleuth School ended and I declared them all graduates and ready for their first official case. We reviewed the ransom note, I handed everyone a picture of what Jada looks like and began presenting the suspects. This was super fun. I had made up suspect wrap sheets the day before for Trevor, Rylee, the grandparents, Chris and one for Blackbeard. Blackbeard is a pseudo character that Chris will slip into every now and then with the kids. It's quite funny! In the suspect wrap sheet I put clues that I would use in the mystery. For instance, "Trevor's favorite stuffed animal is his dog Jimmy, who's blue with floppy ears." I said something else like "Rylee's favorite thing is gum, she'll often get into Mommy's purse and eat an entire pack!" True story.

After handing everyone a suspect list the doorbell strategically rang. On the doorstep was a note left for Nancy. Oh you should've seen the girls excitement! They grabbed their super sleuth kits and hit the family floor to open up the letter. Inside was a letter from a neighbor saying they had found part of a note and thought it might have to do with Taylor's missing doll Jada. Beforehand I had typed up a letter from the person who took Jada to the person he/she wanted to give Jada to. Then I ripped the letter into four pieces. The first part said something like

"Dearest sweetie-
I was in the homeschool room reading a book when the most beautiful doll fell into my lap."

All the pieces of the letter were typed in 4pt font. So the girls had to use their magnifying glasses to read it. The picked up on the clue to search the homeschool room. While in there they find Jimmy on the rocking chair! They remembered that Jimmy was Trevor's and Trevor, who was following them around, said he didn't do it. My goal was to lead them to Trevor's room. It took them a minute or two to think of that.

In Trevor's room was a pile of waded up gum wrappers on the floor by his bed. They got this right away and rushed off to Rylee's room. On Rylee's dresser was a framed picture of Jada with a note attached.

You are a girl who is only 3 and therefore I think you should have as many dolls as you want. Here is a picture of her so you know what she looks like. I can’t give her to you yet for it has to be a secret! For now I’m going to listen to some piano music.

In perfect time they finished the reading the note and someone started playing the piano downstairs. The girls rushed down to find Papa D, a suspect, on the piano playing some parlor type music.

Also on the couch listening were all the adults/suspects. Minus blackbeard. Hard for Chris to be two people at once. The girls began questioning Papa D. He said he didn't know anything. And well even if he did he wouldn't tell them. At this point I need to say that there's a similar scene in the Nancy Drew movie. Where Nancy is trying to get some information and the man is not helpful. She thanks the man for his trouble and gives him one of her housekeeper's Hannah's lemon bars and walks away. I don't believe that bribing with food was in any books but this was one of Taylor's favorite parts in the movie we watched the day before. So during the school portion I explained that all the treats were made by Nancy's housekeeper Hannah. I also told them that sometimes Nancy would try to bribe people for information by using Hannah's lemon bars!

They all seemed to pick up on Papa D's line and one of the girls said "Thanks, here's a lemon bar!" and Taylor lead the girls in walking away. Papa took a bite and said "Wait a minute, come back here!" He told them he did see something suspicious while looking through Taylor's music book. She might want to check out Jack & Jill.

The girls grabbed the book and looked through the music trying to find the song Jack & Jill. Once there they found the last part of the note.

"Meet me on Saturday at May 29th, 2010 at 3:05 in the loft. But come alone.
Yours Truly"

The girls ran up to the loft and hid while waiting for the criminal. Up walks Chris into the loft all the while begins talking to himself about how he can't wait to give Jada away. Taylor pops out, with the girls following her cue and she begins to say things like "Where is Jada?" I wasn't sure how this part would go. But Chris played it out. He said he didn't know what she was talking about. Taylor looked at me funny. I said something like, well tell him why you think he did it. Taylor laid out her case and Chris confessed. Chris said he's give her back but they had to use their compasses to get to wear she is.

He lead them through a series of directions. Which was when I learned that the cheap compasses from Hobby Lobby didn't work all that well. And it didn't help that some of the girls were holding them upside down :) But they made it through and into the homeschool room where Jada and Taylor's cake resided.

Mystery solved, case closed :) Let's eat & open presents!

Well it was a blast hosting and planning this party! I'm so happy with how it turned out and more importantly Taylor said it was the best birthday party ever! I think I'll take that year break now :)


Emily Baker said...

That is AMAZING! I'm saving this idea for Piper's 8th birthday! Way to go, Mom!

Jason and Lisa said...

What a fun party! You are so creative.