One of my favorite things about having an 8 year old is how her interests and tastes have begun to influence mine. She’s reading cool classic Nancy Drew books (which I never read as a kid), introducing me to music that I totally love, and her favorite colors inspired a room re-do in our house.
She has also developed a pretty clear vision for what she wants in a party and this year’s vision called for a summery picnic with turquoise and yellow decorations, a mystery to solve, and a picnic-worthy cake (although my husband lobbied her hard for a chocolate one)….a perfect Detective Birthday Party Picnic!
The invitations foretold a “mystery” at the party and the party details were typed in a tiny font, only legible with help from the enclosed magnifying glass. We also included response cards for the guests to mail back with options for them to personalize their picnic. I’m pretty sure the response cards were among her favorite elements of the party. We stalked the mailman for weeks and she pounced on the turquoise envelopes anxious to see who was coming and what they were going to eat.
We gathered Queen Anne’s lace the night before and added them to some Trader Joes flowers to create the flower centerpieces. Balloons, tissue poms, and gingham bunting highlighted the picnicking spot.
We blasted Britt Nicole as the kids hula hooped, sack raced, and had fun with detective Mad Libs.
As soon as it was time for cake, the kids discovered a small metal suitcase with a ransom note and a turquoise hourglass. The cake & all of the plates, utensils, candles, etc. were missing! Suddenly they were transformed into mini sleuths receiving case files, notebooks and mini clipboards.
The hourglass was flipped and the race was on. Would the birthday girl get to blow out her number 8 candle today?
The clues were hidden in balloons, tennis balls, climbing webs, field goals and street signs. They incorporated decoding skills, invisible ink, and homemade scratch tickets. Each sleuth held a tool in their case file that allowed them to help solve a specific clue and solving each clue required a fair amount of teamwork.
An hour later (it took twice as long as expected!), the sweaty yet triumphant detectives returned, with the mystery solved and the cake safely recovered.
After reviving with cake, they relived their sleuthing exploits and had fun trying on secret agent disguise kits from their favor boxes, which also included a hand selected mystery book.
After waking up at the crack of dawn to help make picnic lunches and sprinting around after clues in the hot sun, the birthday girl was pretty spent.
The only mystery remaining was what she’d plan for next year.
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