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Spy games can be a fun way to spend a few hours during the school holidays, or they can be the perfect way to keep a bunch of kids entertained at a themed birthday party. Here are a few ideas for putting together an awesome spy game for, or with the help of, your kids.
These are some general ideas, but you can come up with your own ideas to suit your kids, your materials and your house.
How to Get Started
A great way to get your spy games started is by delivering a dossier, or information pack, to your group of spies. This is where you decide what the actual story will be. If it's just a quick holiday game you might just throw a few things together; if it's for a birthday party spend a bit more time putting together a really cool pack.
Spy games are best when the kids are challenged, but can still finish all of the activities themselves. Your dossier can give them tips for completing challenges or riddles, as well as lists of suspects and other spy stuff. Older kids who aren't actually interested in being a spy might be interested in helping you plan a story and put together clues and information.
Having a well put together dossier is a great way to get everyone excited.
A classic spy game activity is reading invisible ink. You'll need some lemon juice, a piece of paper, and a cotton swab.
Write your message by dipping the cotton swab in lemon juice. Keep messages simple, they'll be quicker and more fun to reveal.
When heat is applied to the lemon juice it turns brown; this reveals your secret message. It's a good idea to have an adult around for this activity, just in case something goes wrong. You can use heat lamps, hair dryers, irons, and even hair straighteners to heat the paper and reveal the message. Open flames work too, but we don't recommend it.
Another way to write secret messages is by using a secret code. A simple code to use is one where each letter is linked to a number between 1 and 26. Provide a few of the answers on the paper, and see if kids can decipher the code.
For a game kids will really enjoy, try and add a bit of variety to the different activities. A 'laser' security system is the perfect way to do something different.
Pick a room in the house with lots of cupboards. Get a ball of wool and tie strands of wool between two walls, creating a barrier.
Get kids to try and navigate their way through the security system without touching any of the 'lasers'.
You can even utilise iPads and iPods in your spy games. Have an iPad or iPod with a passcode that the spies have to crack.
You can use videos, photos, and notes as clues and evidence to help out your spies.
If you've got a list of suspects, fingerprints can help your spies narrow them down.
Leave a fingerprint on one of the secret documents, then get kids to test the suspects' fingerprints using an ink pad and a magnifying glass.
Test out your ink pad before you play the game. Some will give much clearer fingerprints than others.
How to Play
There are a couple of different ways you can play out the spy games. One of the most important things is to have a good story to go along with all of your activities.
You can always incorporate the spy games with a scavenger hunt. Leave your initial clue in the dossier, and then have different activities leading the spies to different clues.
Alternatively you can include most of the clues in the dossier and have kids spend most of their time trying to figure them out rather than find them.
If you're feeling really inventive you can work out a game with two opposing spy teams. Give them different rules and have one spy team try and foil the other team's plans.
Have some sort of prize at the end that all the spies can enjoy. If you're playing as part of a themed party give kids a special spy identity card or medal for completing the game.
If you've got any great ideas for fun spy game activities, let us know in the comments.