My oldest used to love the PBS kids show “Odd Squad”- he’s since moved on but I knew he and his brother would have fun with a detective themed week of learning, so here we are! We made ID badges first- and my littles insisted on using them to “gain entry” to our classroom each morning! hahaha It was definitely a hit!
-Secret code message: I made a grid with a code in it on the top of a sheet of paper where A was 1, B was 2 and so on. Then I used the code to write a message with numbers. I had my little identify each number, find the letter it represented, then write the letter on the line until he had the whole message figured out. This was great number and letter recognition practice all rolled into one!
-I spy ABCs: I printed a page of ABCs, then said the letters were criminals who my secret agents had to capture. I called out letters at random and had my littles find them on the page. To “capture” them they had to stamp them with a do-a-dot marker.
-Learning about questions: Since detectives answer questions, I thought this would be a great time for us to explore questions in a bit of detail. We talked about what a question is and my littles each gave an example. Then I pointed out that when you write a question it ends with a question mark and we went over question words. Then I had my little practice writing question marks on the board.
-Read and retell a mystery story: Read any mystery story from the book list (or one of your choice) to your little, then have them retell what happened out loud.
-Write a mystery: For writing this week, I had my little think of a mystery. Then he sketched the beginning (what was mysterious), middle (what steps did the characters take to solve it) and end (how it was solved). The following 3 days he wrote sentences to go with his beginning, middle and end.
-Detective book list:
-Fingerprint counting: I wrote the numbers 1-10 on a page for my 3 year old and 1-40 for my 5 year old, then had them fingerprint under each number as they counted.
-Who done it math mystery: I printed this Who Done It? math mystery page from Teachers Pay Teachers and had my little solve the first set to figure out who stole the cupcakes and the second set to figure out where they were hiding. This was a great way to practice addition!
-I spy numbers: I printed a magnifying glass then wrote the numbers 1-10 in it for my 3 year old, and the numbers 1-20 in a different one for my 5 year old. Then I had them find and dot each number in order.
-Fingerprint ten frames: I printed a set of ten frames, then added my own fingerprints to each one so there was (at random) one in the first frame, 2 in the second and so on. Then I had my little figure out how many more he needed to get to ten and make his own fingerprints in a different color than mine as he counted. To finish I had him tell me how many of each color and we used that information to make addition equations.
-Find the missing number: I printed this Missing Numbers page on Teachers Pay Teachers, then had my little use his math detective skills to figure out which numbers were missing from each group and write them in.
-How many marbles in the cups mystery: I placed one marble in the first cup, two in the second, three in the third and so on up to 5. Then I taped circles on top so my littles couldn’t see in and scrambled them up. I told my littles that detectives- like scientists- use their 5 senses to find clues to solve mysteries. I asked my littles what the 5 senses were, then gave them their task- to put the cups in order from 1 marble to 5! They were allowed to use any sense they wanted except sight. When they had the cups in order, we took the lids off to see if they were right! I got this idea from Kids Activities Blog, but simplified it a bit so it was age appropriate for preschoolers.
-How to use a magnifying glass: I explained to my littles how to use a magnifying glass (my 5 year old already knew, but my 3 year old still holds it up to his eye, which just makes everything blurry!) We actually started with that and I asked them what everything looked like. Then we held it close to the object we were trying to magnify and described how it changed the object. Then I let my littles explore with the magnifying glasses around the house (out in the yard is great too!)
-Fingerprint exploration: First we discussed fingerprints, what they are, how everyone’s are different, and how detectives use them to help solve mysteries. Next, I used a fingerprinting page to help my littles make a print of each of their fingertips.
-Solve a mystery: We discussed how detectives use clues to help solve mysteries. Then I left the following clues in the correct rooms around the house except the first one, which I gave to my littles (and read for them). At the end of the trail, I left them lollipops for solving the clues!
-Giant fingerprint examination: I was SO EXCITED to do this one but for some reason we had 398243734 balloons and now we have zero. I have no idea where they went! Anyway, you have your little make a fingerprint on a balloon then blow it up so you the print expands and you can see all the lines and whirls better! I got this idea from Science Sparks.
-Secret Agent ID badges: I had my littles dress up in my black suit coat, a black tie and sunglasses, then I took and printed their pictures. I laminated them (you can just cover them in clear packing tape on the front and back if you don’t have a laminator), then punched a hole in the top and strung a thread through. They were so funny- to “gain entry into the classroom” they would have me shut the door so they could swipe their ID badges under it to let them in!
-Morse code name bracelets: This was really cool and fun to do. First we talked about Morse code and how it works using a page I printed out. Then I had each little choose a color for dots and a color for dashes. We used the colors to spell their names using the code. For more details, check out Nashville Public Library’s Pinterest post!
-Magnifying glass craft: I drew a magnifying glass template on a sheet of cardstock and had my littles cut around it (my 3 year old needed help because the cardstock was too thick for him). Then I cut out the centers and laminated them and let my littles play! You could also fill the center with white paper and have your littles illustrate something extra large that they observe through a real magnifying glass.
-Secret message painting: I wrote secret messages to each of my littles with white crayon on cardstock, then had them use water color paints to reveal the message- the crayon repels the watery paint, while the surrounding paper absorbs it, allowing the message to magically appear! I got this idea from Encourage Play.
-Fingerprint critters: I showed my littles how to use fingerprints to make caterpillars, ants and spiders, then let them try!
-Fingerprint exploration art: I gave my littles our rainbow ink pad and some blank paper and had them print and create and play.
-Letter of the week: Vv, each day we do a different activity focused on our letter- introduction/have your little practice it on the chalkboard (or white board), think of words that start with the letter and make a list, workbook letter writing practice, workbook word writing practice.
-Word of the week: yes, each day we do a different activity focused on our word- introduction/sound the word out/have your little practice writing it on the chalkboard or whiteboard, word family list- think of other words that rhyme with your word of the week, use the word in a sentence (have your little come up with the sentence and write it for them) then have your little illustrate the sentence, and workpage practice.
-Bible verse: This month’s Bible verse is “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 I write each word in the verse on a post-it, stick them to the wall then have my little point to each word and read it each day all month.
-Character trait of the month: consideration…this word is reviewed and posted at the start of the month then each time one of my littles freely demonstrates generosity I use the word to specifically praise what they’re doing and encourage the trait in them. (ie. “That was very considerate of you to split your cookie with me!”)
- detective story for reading and retelling
- ink pad (washable is best)
- water bottles or cups
- balloon (a light color)
- magnifying glass
- suit coat or black t-shirt
- laminator or clear packing tape
- beads (multicolored)
- white crayon
- water color paints