Harris' detective party was so much fun for the children! I think that this might have been the most excited Harris has ever been for a party. And I have to confess that I believe it was the least prepared I've ever been. Two days before the guests arrived I still was unsure exactly what we were going to do! However, it all came together easily and swiftly in the end.
It was important to Harris that he look the part and he asked if I could try to find a trenchcoat for him. I kept striking out (I was unwilling to spend a lot of money) until I happened upon one on the Target website! He met his friends at the door looking very dapper!
We divided the party up into three "segments." First, we had detective school where the children learned and then practiced detective skills. We then took a break and ate cake (and licorice pipes and chocolate moustaches). Finally, we discovered that we had a true mystery to solve!
While I was looking for cake ideas I kept coming up with cute magnifying glass cakes, but since Harris was embracing the old fashioned Sherlock Holmes look I really wanted to reflect that in the cake. I had a vision of a fondant detective and when I broached the subject with Bryce he was willing to give it a try. I couldn't have asked for a cuter cake topper. Didn't it turn out adorable? The cake was chocolate with chocolate buttercream icing.
We kept the food really, really simple. In addition to the cake we served licorice pipes (Sherlock Holmes style) and chocolate moustaches. I called the chocolate milk Private Eye grog.
We started the party off by explaining that all good detectives have some important equipment that make their jobs easier. We gave each child a "briefcase" that contained a magnifying glass, moustaches, spy sunglasses and a notepad to take notes. The "briefcase" was a legal sized folder that was closed on three sides. I made a slit in the top so that the top flap would close and added a yarn handle. My dear friend Dawn made a detective society logo that was an awesome addition to the briefcases! The boys loved these briefcases. They carried them around for the rest of the party. These were also their take home gift. Grace also made name tags for everyone with code names. She did this on her own and they were such a great addition to the party!
Our first activity was playing an observational game. The children had to study a bookshelf and then try to figure out what was moved while they weren't looking. It was hard for them to do!
We learned how very important it is to be able to disguise yourself adequately. After they dressed up Bryce took their picture for their spy ID (which I'm planning on sending with thank you notes). How awesome are these guys?
We then moved on to decoding and secret messages. I showed them how to make invisible ink from a lemon and they each wrote a secret message.
We also worked on fingerprinting. Each child got fingerprinted and then studied their fingerprint with their magnifying glass. We then learned how to lift fingerprints with fingerprint powder and clear tape. The boys loved it! (I got the fingerprint kit at Michaels)
Soon after we were done with fingerprinting I "remembered" that I forgot to serve the thumbprint cookies (get it? thumbprint!) when I served cake. When we made it to the kitchen we discovered that there were only crumbs and no cookies. Someone had stolen the cookies! We had a mystery to solve!
Here were the steps we took to discover the Birthday Bandit...
1. We followed the trail of crumbs to the stair landing where we
2. discovered an open window!
3. The Bandit must have jumped out the window because there were muddy footprints leading into the grass
4. where we discovered a note written with invisible ink!
5. We decoded the note, which led us to the playhouse,
6. where we discovered an empty plate.
7. This led to mad running around until the Bandit was found hiding out!