Photo mysteries

There's a mystery afoot in your neighborhood! With a camera, notebook, and an active imagination, your child will be a super (writing and reading) sleuth!

You'll Need

  • Camera
  • Printer
  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • Tape or glue

Learning Stages

Is there a mystery afoot in your neighborhood? With a camera, notebook and an active imagination, your child will be a super (writing and reading) sleuth!

Take a walk around the neighborhood with your child. As you go along, encourage your child to take photos of anything that catches her fancy—flowers along the road, a neighbor's dog, a funny-looking car and so on.

The fun begins once you print the photos. Ask your child to "tell" you the mystery behind these photographs. Encourage them to be creative and as outlandish as they would like. Stumped? Get your child started: That funny-looking car, well, that was the getaway car…the neighbors dog, the canine detective…

For younger children, you can help them write captions to the photographs and write what they dictate. For older children, encourage them to use the photos as starting points for a longer story.

And the next time you run some errands, ask your child to bring her camera along. Who knows? Another mystery may be waiting to be solved!

Reading list for aspiring detectives

Nate the Great series
By Marjorie Sharmat, illustrated by Marc Simont
Yearling (Age 4–8)

The High-Rise Private Eyes series
By Cynthia Rylant
Greenwillow Books (Gr K-3)

Cam Jansen series
By David Adler, illustrated by Susanna Natti
Puffing Books (Gr 1-3)

Encyclopedia Brown series
By Donald J. Sobol, illustrated by Leonard Shortall
Bantam (Gr 1-3)

Harriet the Spy
By Louise Fitzhugh
Harper (Gr 1-3)

Long Secret
By Louise Fitzhugh
Harper (Gr 1-3)

Hank the Cowdog series
By John Erickson
Gulf Publishing Company (Gr 2-5)

And don't forget the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery series!