As we near Christmas the enquiries start pouring in for family parties.
There’s the usual questions of which murder mystery would we suggest as appropriate for Auntie Mable and the cousins (we never mind chatting this through), whether we can accommodate odd ratios of male to female (the answer is yes but it might be costly depending on how skewed it is) and whether there are some games better suited to purely family groups as brothers and sisters don’t want to be flirting with each other or inappropriately with spouses (and again we’re only a phone call away to help with that sort of thing if you need us!)
But the biggest question we’re often asked at this time of year is what to do with children who are under 13 years of age. How will they take part in the murder mystery game?
It’s hard to give any generic advice in this instances as children are all different… however, after selecting a TEEN rated kit you like the look of, then these are a few extra pointers which should help you plan how to involve them.
Firstly, you need to know: are they good readers?
The character booklets require participants to read information quickly and then paraphrase both questions and answers.
Some primary school age (Middle school children) are fine with this – others will struggle. Reading ages vary between boys and girls, and within a year a lot can change, so we never say “Oh, they’re 11 they’ll be fine…” but rather suggest you ask the parents what they think. Sample booklets are available in the games so you can download the sample and forward it to the parent to see what they think.
If they are good readers, then you just need to find an appropriate role for them from the suspect list and they can take part the same as the adults.
If they aren’t good readers then there are several possible options.
option 1) We can amend a game booklet to be in 1st person. This removes the need to digest and paraphrase quickly and means the youngster can simply read exactly what’s written in their booklet. This carries customisation costs, but if you prefer we can email you the booklet files in MSword so you can amend them yourself and keep the costs down.
Option 2) We can reduce the number of questions they need to ask and answer (often also re-writing them into first person, and simplifying the statements as well). Sometimes we need to draft in custom characters to make this work. And again you can ask us to do the work, or you can do it yourself using an MSword copy.
Option 3) You cast them in a supporting capacity only (no speaking role) where they work with their parent or cousin, just asking the questions, after the supervising adult has paraphrased for them e.g. “Jonny, ask Miss Jane Marbles what she was doing in the hall.” You can give them a “character” to dress up as, and even a “role” e.g. Youngest Cousin of Bruce Bugatti; son or nephew of Anne Maretto etc, it all depends on the plot picked.
Option 4) You create a “time filler” booklet for youngsters which has the same covers as the adult books but inside contains puzzles and dot to dot and other activities e.g. word searches that will keep them occupied over dinner. This works well for very young children who are unlikely to be interested for long in a plot. We do stock activity sheets for children in our accessories section.
Option 5) You split off the questions from the booklets and give the children activities in order to collect in all the clues needed to play the game each round, creating “teams” amongst the suspects who work with the youngsters.
Ideas for simple clue finding activities could be:
One word of caution – if you plan to create games each round to keep the kids amused – do keep a copy of all the questions in a separate envelope too! Sometimes kids get bored and only want to watch TV / play with their new toys, in which case, Granny Jones might not want to have to hunt under Jonny’s bed in order to find her questions!!
Any questions – just call or email. We’re very used to enquiries and know the games intimately so can usually help!