wikiHow to Be a Child Detective

Four Parts:Equipping yourself with detective gearWorking on your sleuthing skillsFinding your mysteryPiecing together the solution to the mystery

Solving mysteries as a junior detective can be a whole lot of fun. Find yourself a pint-sized mystery involving lost property or some other mini problem. Then arm yourself with great sleuthing gear and buff up your detecting skills. Once this is all done, you're on your way to having some fun finding the answers and maybe even solving the mystery.

Part 1
Equipping yourself with detective gear

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    Gather your detective supplies together. To start off, you are first going to need to build a little detective kit. It should include the following:
    • Notebook
    • Pencil or pen
    • Magnifying glasses
    • Gloves
    • Flashlight (and perhaps a black light one too)
    • Camera (optional)
    • Tape for marking out danger or no-go zones (optional)
    • Snacks
    • Plastic bags for putting clues into
    • Phone case for your phone (optional).
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    Decide what detective clothes you'll wear. Dark clothes are often best, allowing you to slip around unnoticed, unless, of course, where you're going is all white or light, in which case use white clothes to help camouflage yourself. You're not exactly trying to hide so much as "blend in", so dressing like the locals is always a good approach. For example, if you're going to sleuth at a dance, wear dance clothes or if you're sleuthing at the beach, wear a bathing suit.

Part 2
Working on your sleuthing skills

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    Learn to be sneaky. Being a detective includes spying and keeping your eye on your top suspect! Make sure you practice tip toeing through the halls and not making a sound. One squeak and your caught!
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    Learn to be astute. Spot the things that other people don't. Read Sherlock Holmes and other detective books to get a good idea of how famous fiction and real detectives see the clues that other people miss.
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    Make up a fake identity. This is optional but adds to the fun of your amateur sleuthing. Make sure you tell everyone the same name, or else you will get mixed up and get busted.
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    Consider having some sidekicks with skills of their own.
    • If you have a dog, you could make him/her you K9 Buddy! It's really fun and even better, you could train him a little so its more realistic.
    • It would be a lot of fun if you had a friend who was your detective partner. Having a partner would be a lot of fun and less risky!
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    Ask plenty of questions about the clues and of the people involved. Being curious can help you to find a lot of clues and solve mysteries.

Part 3
Finding your mystery

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    Find a non-dangerous mystery. This could be anything from working out where the missing socks are going to finding a neighbor's lost pet.
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    Visit the source of the mystery (aka the crime scene). Just make sure it isn't a real crime, as the police won't tolerate an amateur sniffing around making things harder for their real work. Pick up some clues and write them down in your book; take photos if wished.

Part 4
Piecing together the solution to the mystery

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    Look for the clues, obvious and not-so-obvious. Think for a while. Maybe you can figure out some possibilities. If you can, make sure you write them down. You never know when you might need them.
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    Think of all the clues you get as pieces of a puzzle and in your free time try to put the puzzle pieces together.
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    Think some more and cross out some of the possibilities you thought of earlier that are now not possible.
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    Ask your friends and families for possibilities. They may think of something you may never have thought of in your wildest dreams.
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    Always ask and answer questions. Being curious can help solve your case and make it a bit easier.
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    Go back to the crime scene and check for clues you have missed. If you find any put them with the other clues and work it out.
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    Interview people that may know something about this mystery.
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    Keep on repeating these steps and you will eventually solve the mystery.
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    Have fun! You don't want to be a kid detective if you don't have fun now do you?


  • If it has been a very long time since you have picked up a clue,try looking at the clues you already have they may lead to another clue. (E.g. If one of your clues is a page of someone's diary and it says "today I went to H&M at Oxford street and lost my favourite dolly Mary-Jane which was a real bummer because she contained one of my special belongings in her dress pocket", then go to that place and look in lost property for a doll. If there is more than one ask permission to examine them all). You should be able to find the doll provided it has not been more than a month since the diary entry was written.


  • Without fail, make sure your parents know when you leave the house and where you plant to be, and when you plan to be back.
  • If you do find any clues on the ground in an unknown area or even in your back garden wash it thoroughly before handling it.
  • If anyone involved in the mystery seems violent and/or mental then steer clear of them and find another mystery. Do not involve yourself in anything dangerous, criminal or life-threatening. This is for fun, not for serious stakes.

Things You'll Need

  • A magnifying glass
  • A full water bottle
  • A notebook and pencil
  • Something like some candy to persuade people to talk
  • A packed lunch (only if you are going to be gone a long time)
  • A large bag
  • An ink pad
  • A torch
  • Spyglasses (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Games of Imagination