Murder Mystery Games for Kids: Tips for Age-Appropriate and Engaging Gameplay

With the Easter holidays coming up, you might be thinking what activities can you run that will engage younger audiences more than simply going to the park? What about running a murder mystery party? At Masters of Mystery, we have a wide variety of games and themes as we don’t just cater to adults and several of our games are suitable for younger participants. In this blog, we'll discuss some potential ideas that can help you create a memorable and engaging experience for your little detectives.

Planning a murder mystery party is an exciting way to spark children’s imagination and get them working together. These games are like stepping into a detective story where the kids can play different roles, solve puzzles, and hunt for clues to crack the case. It's a fantastic activity that mixes fun with a bit of brainwork, perfect for a party. The mysteries mentioned in this blog have been designed to be accessible for all, they are challenging enough to keep you intrigued but not so hard that you can become frustrated. It's all about giving children a sense of adventure and achievement, while they learn the importance of teamwork and communication. So, you're not just throwing a memorable party; you're also helping them develop valuable skills in the most enjoyable way possible.

Below are some of our games we think your younger players will love:-


Wild West and Cowboy Murder Mystery  

In the town of Deadman, there’s a big crowd whoopin’ it up in Dead Man’s Saloon. A shoot-out is announced, and everyone rushes outside on Main Street, but it's empty. While everyone is outside, two gunshots are heard from inside the saloon. Upon returning, they find Deputy Drinkwater dead. But who did it? The suspects include One-Eyed Pete, an outlaw; Patty Petticoat, a saloon dancer; and Waylin Straum, a singing cowboy as well as many others.


Wizarding Murder Mystery  

At the Toadwort School of Magic and Mayhem, there's a big feast where Professor Bumblebee plans to show off the Philosopher’s Scone, a magical artifact that creates endless baked goods. But when it's time to reveal it, the Scone is missing! Who took it? Was it a student? Harriet Putter, perhaps or the troublemakers Draggo Misfit and Crabby Gargoyle, maybe it was the ghost of Nearly-Noseless Nickie? Or someone else?


A Monster Mystery

Home of Madsy Entist, the world-famous eccentric inventor, who has invited all the monsters she knows to a party at her haunted mansion. Guests include Count Dracula, the Wicked Witch of the West, the Phantom of the Opera and many more.  At the party, Madsy intended to unveil her latest invention, “NORMALLO,” a potion that can turn any monster into a normal human being with just a swallow. But someone has stolen the only bottle. Who among all the creeps and ghouls at the mansion tonight could have done it?


A Pirate Mystery

The Bouncing Barnacle, a pirate ship, has just docked in Santa Tortuga. Here the crew meet up at the village tavern, along with the eccentric locals. Everyone’s having a great time but unfortunately, the party is spoiled when Pop DeKegg, the tavern keeper, is found drowned with his head in a vat of rum. He had been holding a treasure map for the pirates, is that why he was murdered? Or was it a local who wanted the treasure for themselves? Or did someone kill Pop by mistake, intending to get his lookalike cousin, the pirate Captain “Lefty” Loosey? Suspects will need to be questioned in order to find out.


A Space Mystery

Near the edge of the galaxy, Fishface Pesco from the Gillyx system has turned a deserted space station into a bar called “The Tavern at the End of the Universe.” It's a hangout for space wanderers, including old spaceship captains, lost travellers, princesses, time travellers, bounty hunters, and all sorts of beings like humans, robots, and aliens. They all stop by to take a break, have fun, or maybe even make some secret deals. One day, while everyone is enjoying the band, the music suddenly stops. Everyone sees a body floating outside the window. It's Fishface, the owner of the tavern, and it seems he was thrown out into space from the nearest airlock. The only people who could have done it are the ones currently in the room, but which one did it?

These are some of our suggestions for fun games that can be played by younger audiences, but you don’t have to stick with just these, any of our plots can be adapted with a little bit of imagination.

For example:-

We have a Masquerade Ball Murder Mystery, set in Venice, in this party all the guests have animal masks, you could get each child to make their own mask that represents the character that they are playing. Or there’s our Circus Murder Mystery, it’s the last night the circus is in town, here is a great chance for lots of colour, bright costumes and decorations or there’s a Sherlock Holmes Murder Mystery, Victorian dress, set in a manor house. These are great stories that you could adapt to suit younger audiences, by removing some themes children may not understand and  by pre-selecting the characters that are involved. You can browse our game selection on our website Masters of Mystery and read through the plots and characters before making any decisions.


To help you prepare your game we’ve included some great tips to ensure your young detectives have a blast while sleuthing safely. 

Simplify the Rules

The key to a successful kids' murder mystery game lies in its simplicity. Children, can easily become overwhelmed by complicated rules and roles. Before the party, take some time to streamline the game's structure. Focus on clear, straightforward objectives and steps. You may want to choose which characters they’re playing before beginning, avoiding more complex storylines or use visual aids or character cards to help them remember their roles and objectives.


Engage Their Imagination

A murder mystery game is a perfect opportunity to dive into the world of make-believe. Speak to parents beforehand and encourage guests to come dressed as their characters, and provide simple props and decorations to set the scene. This might mean turning your living room into a detective's office or your backyard into a mystery island. Simple costumes, hats, magnifying glasses, or even makeshift badges can make a world of difference in immersing the kids in their roles. The more you can bring the story to life visually, the more engaged and excited the children will be.


Keep It Short and Sweet

Attention span is an important consideration when planning activities for children. A murder mystery game that's too lengthy might lose their interest midway. Aim for a game duration that matches the age group's average attention span, typically around 1 to 2 hours maximum. This timeframe should include an introduction to the game, the main investigative phases, and the big reveal. Keep an eye on your timings during the different rounds and follow a structure for questioning (for example: have the character who was just asked the question, be the next one to ask a question, so it flows better and you can keep track of whose been asked). Keeping the game short and sweet ensures that it remains engaging from start to finish, holding the children's attention and keeping their energy levels high.


Safety and Inclusivity

Above all, the safety and emotional well-being of the children should be the top priority. Physically, ensure the play area is safe and free from hazards. Emotionally, it's vital to foster an inclusive atmosphere where every child feels valued and has a role to play. Be mindful of the themes and language used in the game and ensure they are appropriate and adapt the storyline slightly if necessary. Try to make sure every child has a moment to shine. This might also mean assigning roles based on the children's interests or personalities to help them feel more connected and confident in their participation.


Hosting a kid-friendly murder mystery game can be a rewarding experience and by simplifying the rules, engaging their imagination, keeping the game concise, and ensuring a safe and inclusive environment, you're set to provide an unforgettable experience that the children will talk about long after the mystery is solved.  Masters of Mystery games can provide a wonderful opportunity for children to explore new roles, work with others, and develop important social skills in a fun and exciting environment. By organizing a murder mystery party this Easter, you can find a way to entertain children and create an adventure that they won't soon forget.