How large are the workshops?
A maximum of 8 attendees will be permitted during each workshop session. A minimum of 4 attendees will be necessary to perform the story.
What is the daily itinerary for a Junior Detective Workshop?
The average day will look something like this:
9:00-9:20 – Introductions or recaps
9:20-9:30 – Walk to a story location (Maplecrest Park, Hilton Children’s Library, residential sidewalk)
9:30-10:30 – Search for clues and solve related puzzles; each attendee will jot notes in his/her notepad
10:30-11:15 – Cast interrogations, which are partly scripted, partly improvised
11:15-11:45 – Discover more clues based on interrogation answers; solve new puzzles
11:45-12:15 – Lunch break
12:15-12:30 – Walk back to Junior Detective HQ
12:30-1:00 – Debrief from the attendees’ notepads onto the suspect board
1:00 – Pick up
Unless it is raining, the day will be spent entirely outdoors. We will be walking to site locations daily as a group, and will be staying as one group for the entire day. In the event of rain, we will be using a tent and open garage to pretend that attendees are at the locations that cannot be visited.
How does the story progress each day?
The main story will be broken up into four parts (Monday – Thursday). Each attendee will be randomly cast in a role (e.g. mayor, police, dog walker, reporter), which will require scripted readings as the characters, who are also potential suspects.
Attendees will discover various clues hidden at outdoor locations (some as physical items, others as pencil and paper puzzles). The story works similar to one used at an escape room, in that there is a lot of information available, but attendees will need to apply the right information to solve a particular puzzle.
Each attendee will receive a note pad to write down pertinent information or thoughts. At the end of each day, we will put our discoveries on a suspect board back at Junior Detective HQ.
The workshop organizer will serve as the story’s narrator and generally breaking the 4th wall to ask questions of the attendees, which will lead to scripted interrogations and more clues and puzzles.
On Friday, the mystery’s culprit will be revealed, which will then lead to a giant puzzle scavenger hunt in Maplecrest Park to search for an item in the story that has been hidden in the park.
How do you handle the different ends of the 8-12 age spectrum?
The story’s puzzles are designed so that ages as young as 8 will have the ability to solve. For younger kids, visual puzzles (e.g. maze, connect-the-dot, paper folding) are the design focus, whereas older kids favor word puzzles.
When attendees are at a solving location, each person will be given the same pages/puzzles to solve on their own. Then we will discuss the solution as a group, so if an attendee did not arrive at the correct answer, then that person will still gain the necessary information and can write it in their notepad.
Many of the puzzles will also require attendees to work together as a team. For example, *SPOILER ALERT* one challenge requires attendees to tie sticks together to reach a knapsack in a tree.
Will attendees eat a snack or lunch?
A snack break is not planned, but the group will break for a 30 minute lunch each day, eaten at the picnic tables in Maplecrest Park.
Will there be an accessible bathroom?
When attendees are at Junior Detective HQ (the drop-off/pick-up location), a bathroom is available for use through the home’s garage. Frequently visited outdoor locations, like Hilton Childrens Library and Maplecrest Park, also have bathrooms and portable toilets available.
Can you tell me more about the credentials of the person leading the workshop?
Jay Carlson has been a puzzle designer for Clue Town for 10+ years, During that time, he has created puzzle experiences for kids of all ages.
Jay is best known for designing Clue Town books (self-guided puzzle adventures), which are repeatedly tested with children to ensure that the puzzles work for ages 10+. Outside of the publishing world, Jay has been brought into many classrooms (Pre-K, 2nd, 5th, 9th, and 12th grade) as a mentor to help students design their own puzzle adventures in the style of Clue Town. He has facilitated countless Clue Town hunts for school field trips (2nd-12th grade). And he has two kids of his own (ages 10 & 13), whose abilities are often used as reference when designing puzzles.
All of that to say: Jay has many years of facilitator experience with kids of all ages.