How to make spy gadgets with household items

Written by patricia h. reed
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How to make spy gadgets with household items
Household items can let you act like a spy. (Getty Images)

If your child is naturally nosy, keep him entertained on a rainy day by making gadgets to help him surreptitiously gather "intel" on big sister's phone calls, dad's latest project, and even the whereabouts of the family pet. With a few common household items, you and your child can make spy gear almost worthy of James Bond's gadget guru, "Q."

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Black construction paper
  • Clear glass marble
  • Clear packing tape
  • 120 cm (4 feet) of 2.5 cm (1 inch) diameter plastic tubing
  • Clear plastic soda bottle
  • Sharp craft knife
  • Loose-fitting long-sleeve shirt

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    Spy scope

  1. 1

    Roll a sheet of black construction paper into a tube the same circumference as your marble or just slightly smaller.

  2. 2

    Apply double-sided sticky tape around the widest part of the marble. Trim off any excess with a craft knife.

  3. 3

    Fit your marble into the end of the tube so half of the sphere extends from the tube. Adjust the tube if necessary, and tape along the seam with the craft tape.

  4. 4

    Fit the end of your spy scope through a small opening, like a slightly open door, and put your eye to the end of the tube. You will be able to see what's going on in any well-lit room, according to Top Spy Secrets, though the image will be upside down due to light refraction.

    Simple listening device

  1. 1

    Draw a line around the top third of a plastic soft drink bottle. Use the moulded groove or top of the label as a guide to make sure your line is even all the way around.

  2. 2

    Cut through the bottle with the craft knife along the line. A parent or other adult should complete this step for a younger child, or monitor an older child.

  3. 3

    Set the bell formed by the open top of the soda bottle against the table and make sure it is flat against the table. Trim where necessary. Apply a strip of tape around the raw edge so one half is inside the bottle and the other half is outside to protect the child from the sharp edge.

  4. 4

    Insert the 120 cm (4 foot) length of 2.5 cm (1 inch) plastic tubing into the mouth of the bottle.

  5. 5

    Put on a loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirt. Run the end of the tubing up through the sleeve and out the back of the shirt's neck.

  6. 6

    Stand casually near the door of an inhabited room. Press the open bell of your listening device to the door. Hold the end of the tube to your ear and listen in.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not force the end of the tube into your ear.

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