Celebrations Program - Get a Clue
by Rebecca Ivey

Can't view this video?  It's on Youtube: http://youtu.be/c85WGwF_CeA

Books to Share

I Went Walking by Sue Williams
The Mystery by Maxwell Eaton III
Pirate Pete by Kim Kennedy
Pirate Treasure Hunt by Jan Peck
Who Took The Cookies from the Cookie Jar? by Bonnie Lass and Philemon Sturges

Books to Show or Booktalk

Elvis and Olive: Super Detectives by Stephanie Watson
Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobel
Hank the Cowdog series by John Erickson
Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon
Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
The Buddy Files by Dori Hillestad Butler

Bulletin Board

Lift the Flap!

Pick a mysterious scenario that can be displayed on the bulletin board.  Each mystery scene should have clues to solving the mystery underneath certain areas.  As an alternative, instead of a mystery scene, cover the board in jokes, and have the answers underneath the jokes.

Cover the bulletin board with two layers of butcher paper.  On the top layer of butcher paper, create the mystery scene/scene of the crime.  For example, create a bedroom scene as the scene of the crime.  The title of bulletin board will be “Find the Necklace” (or the missing object of choice).  On one side of the wall, place pictures of the culprits (frog, bear, dog, etc.).  At certain areas in the scene, cut the top layer of butcher paper into a flap, but do not completely cut through the paper as it must stay attached on one side.  On the bottom layer of the butcher paper, create the clue.  For example, underneath the bed, have a footprint as a clue.  Have other clues around the room (under the flaps) that lead everyone to figure out the culprit.


Guess Who?

For nametags, use the magnifying glass pattern (pdf) provided.  These can be printed on cardstock, and the names written on the magnifier.











Guess the Item?

Have a covered box (size depends on the item inside) as the centerpiece in the display area.  Place a mystery item inside the covered box.  Once a week, provide clues to the mystery item.  Have a box available for customers to turn in their guesses.  The person who correctly guesses what is inside the box can receive a prize.  This can be done all summer long, with several mystery items.


For the kickoff event, decorate the room like a spooky, mystery scene.  In a darkened room, have cobwebs in the corner of the room and drape the furniture with dusty, dirty sheets.  Place caution tape at various places around the room.  Near the front of the room, have a chalk outline of a body.  Place a tablecloth on the refreshment table, covered with question marks and magnifying glasses.


Mystery Eats

Mystery Cake is a regular cake with a figurine inside the cake.  Make sure the audience is aware that there are items inside the cake.  Provide sugar cookies with question mark frosting as additional refreshments.

Serve mystery punch for the kickoff event.  Mystery punch can be served two ways.  The first way is to provide a variety of punches with no labels.  The audience will have to guess what they are drinking.  The second way is to mix a variety of punches together into a new mystery flavor and serve.


Guess What?

Guess the item in the display case can be turned into a contest.  Have a box near the display for everyone to turn in the guesses.  Winners can receive the item in the box, or an alternate prize.


Magnifying Glasses

Plastic magnifying glasses can be purchased at Oriental Trading Company for $3.29 a dozen.  Oriental Trading Company also has binoculars that can be purchased for $12.99 per dozen.

Costumes and Props

Props for the event can include magnifying glasses, Sherlock Holmes detective hats, and writing pads to collect clues.


If I Were a Detective  (“If I Were a Detective” is copyright © Susan M. Dailey.  Reprinted with permission of Susan M. Dailey.)

If I were a detective, I’d look and look
(make circles with fingers & put in front of eyes, look around)

And write down clues in my notebook.
(pretend to write)

If I were a detective, I’d think and think
(tap side of head with index finger)

And figure out the mystery as quick as a wink!
(snap fingers & wink)

Knock, Knock, Who’s There? (“Knock, Knock, Who’s There” is copyright © Susan M. Dailey.  Reprinted with permission of Susan M. Dailey.)

Knock, knock, who's there?   (pretend to knock, hold out hands in questioning position)
Two little feet that go tap, tap   (hold up correct number of fingers, do motions as indicated)

Knock, knock, who's there?
Two little knees that go slap, slap

Knock, knock, who's there?
Two little hips that go wiggle, wiggle

Knock, knock, who's there?
One little tummy that goes jiggle, jiggle

Knock, knock, who's there?
Two little arms that go flap, flap

Knock, knock, who's there?
Two little hands that go clap, clap

Knock, knock, who's there?
Two little eyes that go blink, blink

Knock, knock, who's there?
One little head that goes think, think
Knock, knock, who's there?
Open the door and see.   (pretend to open door)

Knock, knock, who's there?
It's every part of me.   (wiggle whole body)


It’s a Mystery (“It’s a Mystery” is copyright © Susan M. Dailey.  Reprinted with permission of Susan M. Dailey.)

Mom’s glasses are lost.   (make circles with fingers & put in front of eyes)
Where could they be?   (hold out hands in questioning motion)
Hey, it is a mystery.   (shrug shoulders, tap side of head)

What’s in the box   (show box with hands)
That Dad brought me?   (hold out hands in questioning motion)
Hey, it is a mystery.

Who took the last cookie from the plate?   (pretend to eat, then rub stomach, say "yum, yum, yum")
And who broke Brother’s roller skate?   (make breaking motion with hands, then cry "boo hoo hoo")
And why is Sister always late?   (tap wrist)
Hey, it is a mystery.

I’ll try to solve these mysteries!

Action Rhymes

Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? (Traditional. The children sit in a circle. Start the rhyme, and go around the room filling in each child’s name.)

Group: Who took the cookies from the cookie jar?   (Shrug shoulders)

Group:  (Child’s name) took to cookies from the cookie jar.   (Point to child)

Person: Who me?   (Point to self)

Group: Yes, you.   (Nod head yes)

Person: Not me!   (Shake head no)

Group: Then who?   (Shrug shoulders)

Person: (Next child’s name) took the cookies from the cookie jar   (Point to child)

Peek-A-Boo (Traditional)

Peek-A-Boo Peek-A-Boo   (Hide baby’s eyes with hand)
Who’s that hiding there?   (Keep eyes hidden)
Peek-A-Boo Peek-A-Boo   (Keep eyes hidden)
(Baby’s name) is hiding here   (Point to baby)

Flannel Boards

“Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar” in Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? by Bonnie Lass and Philemon Sturges

“Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar” story by Bonnie Lass and Philemon Sturges can be reenacted as a flannel board story.  Create the empty cookie jar and a trail of cookie crumbs leading across the board.  As the story is being read, follow the trail of clues given in the book.  Include flannel board footprints or tails of the animals in the story, for the children to guess.

“I Went Walking” in I Went Walking by Sue Williams

“I Went Walking” by Sue Williams is another story that can be redesigned for flannel boards.  Create a cutout of the child in the story, as well as the tails and full bodies of the animals in the story.  As the story is being read, the tails are placed on the flannel board for the children to guess the next animal.  As they guess, the full bodies of the animals can be placed on the board.   At the end of the story, the animals will be in line ready to follow the child.

Stories to Tell

“A Special Surprise” in The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories and Fingerplays by Pam Schiller, Rafael Lara-Alecio, and Beverly J. Irby

“A Riddling Tale” in The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Riddles and Jokes

Riddle of the Sphinx

In Greek Mythology, the Sphinx would ask the riddle, “What animal goes on four legs in the morning, two at midday, and three in the evening?”

The answer is Man.  This riddle represents the different stages of a person’s life; as a baby he crawls on all fours, as a grown man he walks on two legs, and when older he uses a cane.


Treasure Map
  • Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Stickers
  • Gold Glitter 

Have the children create their own treasure map.  This is a simple craft with no initial preparation.

Instruct the children to design their own treasure map.  Have the children mark a starting point.  Then, encourage the children to think of a spot where they would keep their treasure, and mark this spot with an X in gold glitter.  Have the children draw clues along the pathway to the treasure.  For example, “take three steps past the oak tree” and draw an oak tree with three footprints.



  • Craft foam (any size)
  • Crayons, paint, or markers
  • Stickers
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Provide each child with a square of art foam.  Art foam comes in many different sizes, and the larger sizes work better for this craft, but any size will do.  Before decorating the art foam, have the children draw puzzle piece patterns in pencil on one side of the foam.  On the other side, have the children color, paint, and decorate with stickers.  Once the children have completely decorated the foam, they can cut their art foam into puzzle pieces.

Detective Badge
  • Construction paper/Cardstock
  • Badge die cut or pattern
  • Markers
  • Tape

Before this program, make cardstock copies of the detective badge pattern, or precut the badges onto construction paper with the die cut.  Detective badge patterns can be found online or hand drawn.

If using the cardstock patterns, have the children trace the pattern onto the construction paper.  For the die cut patterns, simply place those on the table for the children.  Have the children decorate the badges as desired.  When finished, these can be taped onto the shirt and used as nametags.

Games and Activities

Detective Memory Game

Put out a tray of items that detectives may use.  Let the children look at the items for 30 seconds.  Cover it back up and then have the children write down what they remember seeing.  Items can include magnifying glass, writing pad, fingerprint dusting brush, gloves, goggles, etc.

Guess the Amount

Fill a jar with jelly beans (or candy of choice) and have the children guess the correct amount of jelly beans in the jar.  The winner is the person who gets closest to the correct number and gets to take home the jar of candy.

Hide and Seek

This game will work best in an outdoor setting or large environment.  Have one person be “it” while the rest of the group will hide behind objects.  The person who is “it” must find the people hiding.  The first person found, then becomes the next “it” person.  If playing with a large crowd, the crowd can be broken down into smaller groups.

Scavenger Hunt

Children can go on a scavenger hunt through the library.  This will allow the parents and the children to become more familiar with the library.  The scavenger hunt will end at the Summer Reading Table, where parents and children can sign up for the Summer Reading Program.

Guest Speakers

Contact the local police department to see if a police officer or a detective can speak at the library about their jobs.


Amazingly Easy Puppet Plays: 42 New Scripts for One-Person Puppetry by Dee Anderson

The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays by Pamela Byrne Schiller and Deborah C. Wright

The Complete Book and CD Set of Rhymes, Songs, Poems, Fingerplays and Chants by Pamela Schiller, Rafael Lara-Alecio, and Beverly J. Irby

The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Oriental Trading Company - great online store for affordable prizes and decorations.

Susan M. Dailey - wonderful resource for fingerplays, songs, and rhymes.

Mystery Net - This is a great resource for children who like to solve mysteries.  Children can read and solve mysteries, learn magic tricks, and much more.

Page last modified: December 4, 2013