Kid Detective

Books to Share

Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall
Something Queer at the Library by Elizabeth Levy
Tough Cookie by David Wisnieski

Books to Show or Booktalk

The Case of the Stinky Socks by Lewis B. Montgomery and Amy Wummer
M is for Mountie by Polly Horvath
Penny & Pepper: Pony Mysteries by Jeanne Betancourt
Policeman's Safety Hints by Giovanni Caviezel

Bulletin Board

Clued into Reading!

Cover the bulletin board with poster paper. Use crime scene tape, or make your own from yellow crepe paper and letters cut from black paper to create an edge around the bulletin board. Cut out letters to say "Clued into Reading." Add book jackets for mystery books. Cut out mystery symbols such as question marks, magnifying glasses, fingerprints, beakers, notepads, and badges.



Use the template provided here to create detective badges for nametags.

An outline of a badge pattern to be cut out and used as a nametag


Detective Cookies

Make cookies shaped like Sherlock Holmes image or a magnifying glass, using cookie cutters available from Copper Gifts. If desired, let the children decorate the cookies with icing, jimmies, and other embellishments.


Magnifying Glass

Purchase small magnifying glasses from Oriental Trading Company to give to budding detectives.

Costumes and Props

Dress the part of a detective by wearing a trench coat and fedora hat for storytime or other program. Carry a big magnifying glass.



"Busytown Mystery Theme" at Busytown Mysteries.

Rhymes and Poetry

My Five Senses (Traditional)

I have eyes that see
And a nose that can smell
I have fingers that touch
And they do it very well
I have ears that can hear
And a tongue that can taste
These five senses I will not waste.

Puppet Plays

"The Case of the Disappearing Books" in One-Person Puppet Plays by Denise Anton Wright. (Available through Net Library.)


Fingerprint Animals
  • Stamp pads, variety of colors
  • White paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Wet wipes

Show the children examples of fingerprint animals from books like or from Ed Emberley's website. Distribute paper and stamp pads. Let the children stamp their thumbprints and fingerprints on the paper and add features with the colored pencils.

On the Case
  • Commercially purchased cardboard suitcases or recycled boxes with handles
  • Stickers
  • Markers or crayons
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Old magazines
  • Old postage stamps, removed from the envelopes

In advance, purchase commercially available cardboard suitcases from Guildcraft or collect enough similar sized boxes with handles. Also in advance, collect old magazines and used postage stamps, particularly from other countries. Distribute one box to each child and allow them to decorate their briefcase with stickers, postage stamps, and pictures cut from old magazines. This project provides a perfect briefcase for carrying secret files and case notes.

Games and Activities


Dust for fingerprints using cocoa powder. Place a clean piece of glass or a mirror on a table. Ask one of the children to come and touch the glass. Use cocoa powder and a clean dry paint brush to dust for prints. Tear off a piece of clear packing tape and place the tape over the print to "lift it." Secure the print by folding over the packing tape to protect it and give the fingerprint to the child as a memento of the program.

Clue Jr.

Purchase or borrow Clue Jr. game sets and let the children play. It is easy enough to be played by children as young as four.


Arthur: Arthur's Missing Pal (68 minutes)
The Best of Dudley Do-Right (30 minutes)
The Case of the Hotel Who Done It (30 minutes)

Web Sites

FBI Kids Page - Among the many games on this web site is an undercover game that allows players to build a disguise for an undercover agent.

Professional Resources

Sherlock Holmes Activity Book by David Schimmell

Nate the Great Activities - Print out some of the activities, like patterns for a Nate the Great hat, to share with the children.

Page last modified: January 18, 2012