Category Archives: Girls and Boys party games 9 and older

Customized Apples to Apples party game


The game Apples to Apples is one of the most popular card games to have been designed in recent years. It was named “Party game of the year” by Games magazine in 1999. The game rules are described elsewhere on the internet so I will not repeat them here.

It is as simple as it is entertaining to ‘customize’ a game a “Apples to Apples” to suit a given party. All that is required is to make a special deck of your own ‘Red cards”, which are the nouns.  You do not replace the game Red cards but in addition to the standard Red cards each player is given 2 (or more) special Red cards. These special cards could have well known people (teachers, politicians, film stars) to the group or places such as the High School cafeteria. In this way a Green card adjective of say “”scary” could be matched with one of the special cards.

It is up to the host to decide the number of special cards to be made and how many each player should get. Also there could be a rule that each player can only play a limited number of special cards during the game, in order to stop them being over played.

There is no strict way to incorporate special custom Red cards into your game of party Apples to Apples but you can experiment and your guests will appreciate it.

One variation of this game is to have each of your guests create 2 or 3 custom Red cards at the start of the game then mix them together and give them out. In the original game of Apples to Apples there is the concept of the wild or blank card.  These customized cards as similar to blank cards only they are prepared to suit the party. Certainly each of the party guests could be named as a Red apple card but please be respectful as the game should always be played in good humor without embarrassing anyone.

Wink murder mystery game for kids


Currently I am researching mystery games that would be suitable for a kid’s party. The idea is to host a mystery game party theme for 12 or so “would be sleuths”. So far I have come up with some ideas that I have written about in the A kid’s murder mystery game  blog post.

One of the few documented murder mystery games that can be played by younger quests is the Victorian parlor game “Wink murder” also known as “Killer”, “Murder in the dark” and “Lonely Ghost”.

The game can be played with as few as 4 people but is more entertaining when played with upwards of 6 and there is no upper limit, so this game is well suited for a kid’s party with a large number of guests. I have placed this party idea in the age’s 9 to 12 category but younger guests might be able to play also.

The game of Wink murder is played as follows:-

One of the players is secretly identified as the “murderer”. This is achieved by giving out cards, or notes, to players and one of them is marked with a star or other distinguishing mark, the person receiving this card is the murderer.  Regular playing cards can be used for this, just include the Ace of Spades in the cards and give out a card to each person, the one who gets the Ace of Spades is the murderer.

The players then sit in a circle and begin talking to each other (idle chat) to discover who the murderer is. The idea is that as they are talking to each other the murderer makes eye contact with someone and secretly winks at them. Note: if you have young guests that have trouble winking then blinking (two eyes) can also be used, but in either case this action should be done as discreetly as possible. It is important that only the murderer winks or blinks at people (otherwise the game is invalid). After a person has be winked at then they silently count to 5 then pretend they have been murdered (the more theatrical the better!). The person who has been murdered then exits the circle and takes no further part in the game. The idea is that the murderer will now be looking at someone else and hopefully no one will have noticed his or her previous action.

If a player believes they know the identity of the murderer they raise their hand and say “I accuse”, and nothing else. After a person has said “I accuse” there is a slight pause and if someone in the group also believes they know the identity of the murderer then they say “I also accuse”. If no one says “I also accuse” then the game continues (with the guests talking and the murderer trying to wink at other victims). If there is another person who says “I also accuse” then the two accusers count “1-2-3” and then both point to the person (simultaneously) who they are accusing. If they both point to the same person and that person is the murderer, then that game concludes and another can begin. If both players point to the same person who declares himself as not being the murderer, then both the accusing players are removed from the game (just as the people who have been murdered have been removed).  The person who has been falsely accused remains in the game to accuse others or become a victim. If the accusers point to two different people then the accusers are both removed from the game and neither of the accused players has to reveal themselves as the murderer.

The game continues until the murderer has been correctly identified or there are only 2 people left in the game (then the murderer has ‘won’). Another game can then start if the party wishes it.

Some notes on playing the game of Wink murder.

In order to make it not as obvious that a murder is taking place (the winking), the room can be slightly darkened but not so much that the eyes cannot be seen. Also another activity can take place so as to occupy the ‘victims’ time. For example a game of ‘Apples to Apples’ can be played out whilst a game of Wink murder is in progress. The Wink murder is the primary game and the Apples to Apples (or other activity) ends as the Wink murder game ends.

For younger children it might be difficult for them not to give away the fact that they are the murderer but for kids of around 8 or 9, this should not be an issue.

A kids murder mystery game


When my own kids were younger they asked me to devise a murder mystery game for them, as they were aware of this type of party activity, for adults and older children. I game up with the following mystery game party ideas, which allowed for all to participate and provided a lot of amusement.


A simple murder mystery game, for a kid’s party, would involve hiding clues around a house (or garden) and have the kids find them and collectively solve the murder. The crime need not be a murder, i.e. it could be a robbery, but the types of clues found would be similar in that they eliminate a suspect.


In its simplest form a list of 12 suspects would be written on a board for all to see, the suspects could be any names, e.g. Mr. Smith, Mrs. Jones etc. The party quests then look for notes of paper (that you the hostess has hidden) which have a name written on them. There needs to be at least 11 notes, one for each suspect being eliminated, but there could be more as duplicate notes could be made. The important point being that the culprit is not on any note and once the kids have found 11 unique names on the notes they will be able to deduce the murderer (or robber).


If your guests have problems finding the notes, after a certain time, you can give them hints. The idea is the whole group solves the mystery together.


If you want to introduce an element of friendly ‘competition’ then have the party guests split into small teams (of detectives) and each team competes against the other. For this version you will need a lot of notes (with duplicates) scattered around as the kids will ‘destroy the evidence’ when they find a given ‘note.’ to try and hinder their competition. The team that makes the correct deduction (solves the crime) first wins. For this version of the game you will need to give each team their own list of suspects so they can discuss and eliminate ‘in private’.


A more complicated version of this murder mystery party game (suitable for older kids) would be to have your guests find two pieces of information (notes) to eliminate a given suspect. The set up is the same (with 12 suspects being written on a board or given out to the teams) but the clues are in two parts. The first part (note) is something like “A person that owns a Parrot is innocent” and the second part (note) is “Mr. Smith owns a parrot”. In this case Mr. Smith is eliminated when the two notes are found and matched. If, however, there is no matching note for “Mr. Grey owns a Cat” then Mr. Grey cannot be eliminated and he would be the culprit after elimination of the 11 other suspects. As with the simpler game this can be played by the whole party or with teams of ‘Detectives’. If you want to make it even more complicated you can have three or more pieces of information. For example “The person who owns a Dog and Cat is innocent” will match (and eliminate) with the two other notes:  “Mr. Smith owns a Dog” and “Mr. Smith owns a Cat.”


You can use your imagination with the clues, so as to fit a theme of your party. For example “The Princess that has 7 Facebook accounts is innocent” matches with “Princess Mary has 7 Facebook accounts”. The key to the game is the finding, and optionally matching, of clues followed by elimination of the suspects to deduce the culprit.