Kids are fascinated by spies. After all, a spy gets to sneak around, have exciting adventures and play with cool gadgets. James Bond had gadget-masters Q to build his gizmos. You can become a bit like Q yourself, and put together a fun collection of spy gear for your budding espionage agent. Spy gadgets are easy to make, and you can put together a good kit from items you have lying around your house -- an no one will suspect a thing.
Make a spy identification card. The first thing any good spy needs is an ID with an alias on it. Help your child pick a cool spy name, and then make an ID card using your computer and printer. Create a card that is about the same size as a driver's license. Insert a digital photo of your child's face in one corner. Beside it, add a block of text with his or her spy name and address. It can be mysterious, such as "Billy X, Somewhere, Transylvania," or silly, such as "Abby Investigator, 321 Lockpicker Lane." Include a box for your child's fingerprint. Print it out on your printer, and cut it to fit into a billfold. Use an ink pad to add the fingerprint on the box. If you have access to a laminating machine, laminate the card to make it last longer.
Make invisible ink. Any spy worth his salt has access to invisible ink to send secret messages to other spies. Put some lemon juice in a small bottle and cap it securely. Affix a toothpick to the bottle with a rubber band. To write secret invisible spy notes, dip the toothpick in the lemon juice and use it to write the message on a piece of paper. Other spies can read the note by heating the paper over a light bulb. The lemon juice will turn brown, revealing the secret message.
Make fingerprint powder. A good spy can dust for fingerprints and see who's been around, because fingerprints leave residue everywhere. Make your own dusting powder by blending equal parts cornstarch and black chalk powder. To make black chalk powder, simply buy a piece of black chalk and grind it up until it's powdery. Put your fingerprint powder in a jar or bottle, and use a small cosmetic brush to dust over fingerprints. Blow off the excess powder, and use a strip of clear tape to lift the print. Tape the print onto a piece of white card stock.
Make a small periscope. The periscope comes in handy when spies have to peer through keyholes or under doors, because it will fit into very small places. To make this, use the clear marble as a lens. Cut a length of heavy card stock and roll it into a thin, narrow tube. Insert the clear marble at one end, and glue or tape it into place. To use the periscope, peek through the open end, and the marble will magnify everything for you to see -- but remember, it will show you things upside down, because the marble reverses the image.
Make a secret hiding place for your stuff. A good spy covers his tracks, and that includes having a hiding place for secret identities and tools. To do this, get an old hardcover book that no one in your family wants anymore. Open the book about a third of the way and lay it flat. Use the craft knife to cut out a rectangle of pages in the centre. Don't cut all the way to the back of the book. This will leave you with an opening inside the book to hide secret stuff. Put your spy ID and other tools in there, and then hide the book on a bookshelf.
If you have an old black bag or briefcase, use it to make a carrying bag for your child's spy gear. If you don't have access to a lamination machine, sandwich your card between two pieces of clear packaging tape.
Monitor children if they use the craft knife themselves. Warn your child only to use the black chalk dust on solid surfaces to prevent hard-to-clean messes. Be aware of little spies when having private conversations.
Tips and warnings
- If you have an old black bag or briefcase, use it to make a carrying bag for your child's spy gear.
- If you don't have access to a lamination machine, sandwich your card between two pieces of clear packaging tape.
- Monitor children if they use the craft knife themselves.
- Warn your child only to use the black chalk dust on solid surfaces to prevent hard-to-clean messes.
- Be aware of little spies when having private conversations.