Help me mystify my six year old
August 17, 2020 10:48 AM   Subscribe

My six year old daughter loves mystery games. Help me find some more to keep her busy on vacation next week and beyond.

In addition to enjoying kids detective series like Encyclopedia Brown and A-Z Mysteries, the little one just adores picture-based detective books where she and I can sit together and solve a mystery or locate hidden items. I'd like to find more.

So far, the biggest hits are Art Fraud Detective and its sequels, and Pierre the Maze Detective.

There are definitely plenty of look and find games out there, and plenty of kid detective books, but I'm looking for books that have high quality drawings and sophistication. She's six, but I've found that books for 8-12 year olds work great for her so long as there isn't a scary element. And they have to be complicated enough to keep my interest and add some concepts or ideas that lend themselves to daddy-daughter discussion.
posted by gabrielsamoza to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The Eleventh Hour absolutely mesmerized me at this age, and handily lasted through about age 10 for the secret code bits. Find the biggest version you can get, the illustrations are so detailed.
posted by Mizu at 11:02 AM on August 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

Plus one to The Eleventh Hour, which I was so excited to come in here and tell you about but of course someone beat me to it!
posted by babelfish at 12:31 PM on August 17, 2020

It's not a game, but my 6.5 year old is obsessed with the Key Hunter Series which involves solving mysteries, adventures, action -- and it all takes place inside various genres of literature: Spy movies, detective novels, etc. The vocabulary building is spot perfect for that age too. It is chapter books and there are pictures every 2 to 3 pages.
posted by crayon at 2:12 PM on August 17, 2020

Hmm, she probably is a little young (these might be scary) but in maybe two or three years I would bet the Nancy Drew computer games will be very fun for you two to play together. They vary in scariness and have full voice acting with distinctive characters and lots of puzzles, so plenty to keep adults entertained too. Keep your eye on them for when she's older :)
posted by clarinet at 2:49 PM on August 17, 2020

Another alternative might be a variation on a scavenger hunt, if you have time to plan something out. When I was that age my older brother would send me off on adventures in the backyard to find things to solve a mystery, with clues planted along the way.
posted by pinochiette at 2:50 PM on August 17, 2020

In case you need convincing, seriously, get The Eleventh Hour.
posted by Night_owl at 3:03 PM on August 17, 2020

If you can find a complete copy of The Magic Show book, it is amazing. I don't know where my copy went, but hopefully it is hiding in a box somewhere.

When you turn each page you are given instructions on how to perform a magic trick, but aren't told how the trick works. You just do what the page says, using pull tabs and prop pieces and stuff, and then sit back amazed that you fooled yourself.

The last page has two sets of instructions: one to reset the book without revealing any of the solutions, and one that explains how everything was done so you can "perform" the book for other people.
posted by tacodave at 5:07 PM on August 17, 2020

I remember enjoying Puzzle Island by Paul Adshead around the same age that I enjoyed The Eleventh Hour. (This is another recommendation for the Eleventh Hour!)
posted by esker at 5:14 PM on August 17, 2020

We have this Explorer academy: code breakers book from National Geographic... more for 8 years and up but a ton of fun.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:52 PM on August 17, 2020

I might be late here but Graeme Base who wrote Eleventh Hour also wrote Enigma: A Magical Mystery. It's a mystery and you use cryptography to solve it.
posted by graham1881 at 4:44 AM on August 20, 2020

I also adored Puzzle Island at her age, though I think I never solved the final puzzle and it haunted me for years...
posted by brook horse at 1:44 PM on August 22, 2020

Just wanted to report that we spent today working on The Eleventh Hour and had a wonderful time. Drat that mouse!
posted by gabrielsamoza at 9:39 PM on August 22, 2020

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