Spies, intrigue, secret codes, international criminal rings.
My daughter recently received her acceptance into S.H.O.E., the international spy collective, and set out with her best friend to save the world. The communication was secret and not easily deciphered, but in the end, they were able to discover the double spy and keep the world safe from another nefarious criminal syndicate.
How, you may ask, were two eleven-year-olds able to crack codes and become junior spies? Well, through our Mail Order Mystery subscription, of course.
It’s not a mystery that we love subscription boxes at this house. However, we have never had a mystery box subscription. We discovered Mail Order Mystery recently and the kids begged to try it out. The youngest is an avid fan of mysteries so this seemed like a no-brainer for some fun and a lot of hidden learning.
She invited her best friend to join her on her mission and the two set out with grand plans and a lot of excitement.
What is Mail Order Mystery?
Mail Order Mystery is a subscription mail service. Over a six week period, your child will receive weekly packages that lead them to solve a mystery. We chose Spies, Lies and Serious Bad Guys! because, well, it had spies, lies, and serious bad guys. Duh.
However, spy intrigue is not the only mystery available. There are currently four mysteries to choose from:
The suggested age range is between 8 and adult, though a couple of them could be solved by younger children with the help of parents.
Instead of receiving the installments over six weeks, we opted to receive the entire mystery in one box. You can see the unboxing in the video below. My reasoning on this was a bit flawed, as I’ll readily admit. I thought it would be fun to do the whole mystery in one day. In hindsight, that was a bit much for one day. I must admit that the folks at Mail Order Mystery know what they are doing by creating a six-week mail sequence. The mystery build up is better over time and the kids won’t be overwhelmed with trying to solve so many clues in one day.
What Do You Receive in Each Mail Order Mystery Installment?
This is the truly great part of this mystery subscription. Every package is personalized and builds on the mystery until it is solved. The first day the girls received a package addressed to them. Inside was an application to join the spy organization, S.H.O.E. They filled out the applications and chose their code names. The excitement started to build.
Each package contained a new piece of the mystery and secret messages. Everything they needed was provided, but they had to use some detective skills to figure out the clues. Some involved codes they could use to call into the spy organization and get clues to their next mission.
Along the way, there were some physical activities as well as mental ones. In our specific mystery, the kids had several codes to break and riddles to solve. The codes started simple but grew more difficult to solve as the mystery evolved. The “Spy Manual” explained the different types of typical codes and after a little investigation, the kids were able to decipher the hidden messages.
Why Would You Want a Mail Order Mystery?
If your family is into the new Escape Room craze, this is along those lines. My kids LOVE to go to Escape Rooms. Oh, who am I kidding? I love them as well. We even had an Escape Room party for the youngest’s last birthday. A Mail Order Mystery is just as much fun, but it has the added benefit of being spread out over six weeks and you can do it at home!
The kids loved it because it was fun and broke up our routine. The build-up to solving the mystery was evident when they ran to the mailbox to get each package. (Yes, I still put them in the mailbox for them even though I had received all the packages in one box).
I loved it because the kids had to use critical thinking skills and logic in every installment. Did they realize this? Probably not, which is what makes this mystery subscription great. It’s hidden learning!!
How Do You Get Your Own Mail Order Mystery?
Well, that’s easy. Just hop on over to Mail Order Mystery’s site and choose the mystery that appeals the most to your children. They create mysteries for individuals or sibling groups, so small and large families alike can enjoy a subscription.
Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…