Saturday, 5 September 2015

Review: Kids Mystery Case Files

When I was little there was this great puzzle magazine called Quiz Kids (ohh it still exists) and I used to love it.   That and the Usbourne Puzzle Adventures series which Ben thinks are fab.  In both cases you followed a story throughout, soving the puzzles and mystery's to solve the crime.  With this in mind when I saw the opportunity for a new e-magazine for children called "Kids Mystery Case Files" I put my name forwards.

The Kids Mystery Case Files are designed to let your child step inside a mystery and turn amateur sleuth to discover whodunnit and why.  By solving puzzles your children discover clues, clear suspects and solve the case.  Here's Detective Cracker to tell you some more.....

The magazines are online, however unless your children are happy doing things in their head you will need to print the activities as they aren't interactive, saying that Microsoft have released a few tools that can be used to highlight and scribble on pages if you know how to use them.

Lets take a look inside the one we reviewed #3 Poison Pen Letters

There are videos through the magazine to talk you through the mystery and clarify what you have found out, however if you want to download and print off the whole magazine (which we did and to be honest I wouldn't recommend) you can still follow the story.


The first few pages give you an introduction to the village and the characters you will meet as well as the mystery you will be solving.


Spot the Difference - this was a well aimed activity with just the right amount of difficulty for the group it is aimed at (7-11), the boys really enjoyed it,   I would recommend printing off this activity to a) keep track of what you have found and b) some of the spots are small and tricky to see online.

Wordsearches - there are 2 wordsearches, one easy one harder which the boys loved as it meant one each and they had a race to see who could complete it first.  Again this activity is not interactive so the children may prefer them printing off so they can ring the words as they find them.

Hidden Objects -  Ben loves hidden object games and plays an online one with me all the time, this was tricky (but then he'd only 7 next month), but really makes the children concentrate and look closely.  If you do get stuck the answers are only over the page, unfortunately the creators have only circled 10 for you, I can assure you all 12 are there tho!

Mind Boggler - now this was tricky.  Great fun and reminds me of playing Boggle as a child but really really tricky.  Fear not tho, turn the page and it gives you some suggested words they have found (except again, this had an error in it).

Matching Pairs - not just tricky ........ we found it impossible.  There are 2 very obvious pairings but as for the other 4 - well even with the answers I couldn't have told you why they were any different to the other one that looked exactly like it.  We printed it off as although you can zoom in this isn't really helpful to compare differences.

The Final Activity - In this issue is a code cracker to help you work out the culprit.  Ohh this is mummy's forte.  When I was little I had a spy file with one book dedicated to code cracking, I spent days lost in these activities.  This one was made more difficult by the fact the letter/ number combinations you are provided with as a starting point bears no resemblance to the code you are given to crack.   Fortunately children of 7+ should recognise this early on.

Once you've cracked the case you get confirmation of what you've discovered and an additional online link to get some further info about why they did it which Ben appreciated.

Additional activity - This is a great addition and, in this issue. teaches the children about writing hidden messages to each other.


Each issue is £4.50.  You can sign up monthly for £3.50 an issue or a 12-month subscription is £28.  However here's a code for 25% off your first case, just pop over to to purchase.


It's safe to say the boys loved it and have asked for more issues, however as the grown up paying for it I would require more content and better quality assurance for the price being charged, saying that it's still in it's early stages so I am sure feedback is being taken on board for future issues.  However please remember my opinion is reflective as a comparison on my experience with the content and price of the other publications mentioned earlier.

How to get in touch with Tall Tales who produce Kids Mystery Case Files


Disclaimer:  I was sent a free link to the Poison Pen letters edition to review, this is my honest opinion.

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