This year, the Juniors decided to work on the Detective badge. The first step for this badge is "Practice the power of observation." I remembered playing the Tray Game at a baby shower. I thought this game would be a great way for the girls to work on their observation skills. I collected a variety of Christmas-related items and placed them on a tray. The girls (Juniors and Brownies) were given about thirty seconds to view the tray, and then they were given one minute to write down as many items as they could remember. (For future reference, I would give them more time to write). In years past, we have not awarded prizes for game winners at our troop parties. This year, I found really cute Christmas socks at Dollar Tree. I bought a few pairs, and the winner of the Tray Game was first to choose a pair of socks from the prize bag.
I was really excited to see that Step 5 for the Detective badge is "Follow the clues to solve a real mystery." One day while I was bumping around online, I came across Merri Mysteries. This website offers mystery party game kits that are available for purchase. The website is organized into various categories: murder mysteries, mysteries that aren't murders, for girls, for boys, for teens, for schools, and for holidays. I couldn't wait to share the idea of a having a Mystery Party/Christmas Party with the girls in the troop. After reading through the options, I chose the "Who Stole the Cookies?" (Mini Version) Mystery Kit. It is not a murder mystery. It is written for 8 to 16 guests, so it is appropriate for the size of our group. The characters in the story are fairy tale characters all the girls know and love. This mini version can be done in about 30-40 minutes. Most importantly, this mystery involves cookies, and Girl Scout cookies will be available in the very near future. This Mystery Kit seemed like the obvious choice for our Girl Scout Troop Christmas Party. When I presented the idea to the girls, they agreed to use $20 from troop funds to purchase this mystery kit.
A Host Guide is included with the script for the mystery. This makes party planning really easy. The kit provides tips for preparing for the party, costume ideas, and suggestions for the decor and menu. Prior to the meeting, the girls drew characters out of a hat. I emailed the parents the cast list, and I included the costume suggestions listed in the kit. Families were encouraged to use what costumes or accessories they had at home or to borrow from others in the troop. The plan was to give a pair of those Dollar Tree Christmas socks to the girl who correctly guessed which character stole the cookies. If there had been a tie, we would have drawn a name to determine the winner.
|Left to Right: Cinderella, Goldilocks, Alice, Peter Pan, Dorothy, Snow White, Aladdin, and Little Red Riding Hood|
We didn't decorate our meeting space for the Mystery Party, but we did have some special snacks. In addition to the Detective badge, the Juniors are working on the Simple Meals badge. The Brownies are working on their Snacks badge. Both badges have a step that offers the choice of making a holiday treat: Simple Meals badge Step 4 is "Create a delicious dessert." Snacks badge Step 3 is "Try a sweet snack." While planning out our year, I suggested we have a Cookie Exchange during our Christmas Party. The girls and leaders were asked to bake cookies at home with their families. They then brought a dozen of these treats to share with the other girls in the troop. We had them vote for the "Best Cookie" (based on appearance only), but they were not allowed to vote for their own. The winner received a pair of the Christmas socks out of the prize bag. The girls chose two cookies to eat at the party, and the rest were packed up to take home. Again, this is super simple for the host of the party, and the girls really enjoyed the Cookie Exchange. We finished what we had planned for the party with a few minutes to spare. We filled this extra time by having the girls play the Minute to Win It--Stack Attack. We introduced this relay game to the girls at our troop Christmas Party in 2012. It is a huge hit (with kids and adults)! As parents arrived to pick up their daughters, they were given this Christmas Baking fun patch we ordered from Council earlier in the school year.
Though this party was planned for Girl Scouts, it would be so much fun to do something similar with family and friends as you gather together to celebrate the holiday season. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As always, thank you for reading!