I'll come right out and answer the #1 question I suspect everyone has: where we got these little suitcases. They were from Target. They were on clearance, way back in April, and they were $2.48 each. I bought them right away, simply because they were so absolutely perfect for... anything. And at that price, it would've been a crime not to have bought them.
Now, way back then, Jenna had already been talking about her party, and her idea that it should involve solving mysteries with clues. So even while I was loading these suitcases into my shopping cart, I was almost certain we'd use them for detection kits. And yes, they are as sturdy and as beautifully made as they look.
Let me show you what we filled them with.
specifically, a paper measuring tape for measuring footprints (from Ikea); a little notebook (dollar store bulk pack); a book of secret codes that we printed and folded; a ball-point pen (dollar store bulk pack;, a UV pen and a real magnifying glass (dollar store or Walmart).
The UV pens are from here.
The kids loved them because they were like magic. You write (invisibly) with the nibs, and then reveal the writing with the light in the cap. It works even after the ink's been dried on the paper for days.
I put the girls to work, filling the suitcases, assembly-line style.
Everything had to be QC-ed first, of course.
We also made stickers to decorate the kits on the day itself. We printed them out on colored printer paper
and used our sticker maker to make them adhesive.
On the day itself, we set out the kits and baskets of markers and stickers
so the kids could personalize their own.