Mystery, stealth, disguises, secrets and adventures; when you think of spies these words certainly spring to mind. They kind of make you excited just thinking about them, and that’s just the adults!
Okay, onto the kids, as this is what we’re really talking about! Kids love being super heroes, secret agents, spies, detectives, crime fighters and anything that involves a bit of cloak and dagger for them to find out hidden secrets, go on missions, catch the thief, or help their country track down the baddies!
But this certainly ain’t just for the young men in your life, this can be for your young lady too as she can join the ranks of some of the coolest female super heroes and spies out there; think Cat Woman, Black Widow, Bat Girl, Angelina Jolie in ‘Salt’ and ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’, Uma Thurman in ‘The Avengers’ and one can’t forget the amazing female spies that Mr Bond has come across in his many years as 007 – they almost, just almost outsmarted him!
Here we’re going to show you how to help your kids set up the coolest neighbourhood spy club, and they’ll be out on amazing adventures before you know it! But make sure you get the girls excited too, as they’ll be super smart spies for sure, and might outwit all their team mates and opponents too! Get involved in the adventures as well, you can relive a bit of your youth! But try and remember it’s really for the kids, so don’t be taking over their spy club at the excitement of being 10 again!
Have they got what it takes?
Before any good spy club can be born, the kids need to test their mettle to make sure they can do this important job. Spies have certain character traits and if they want to be a top notch agent, then they need to possess all of them. Take this quiz with your kids, and check out if they’ve got what it takes.
Do you have guts? Spying is not for the weak at heart. You can put yourself in unknown and maybe even dangerous situations and your great thinking skills will keep you safe. Do you have what it takes?
Have you got the ability to learn things, and learn them fast? You never know what situation you might land up in and each will need different skills. You’ll need to learn these skills fast. Can you do this?
Are you creative? You’ll come across all sorts of problems and each one will need the right solution. You won’t have ‘Q’ standing by your side, handing over super-duper-marvellous gadgets that do everything. You’ll have to use whatever you’ve got. Can you handle it?
Right, now that you’ve established if your kids’ have what it takes to be spies, let’s get on with setting up that neighbourhood spy club.
How to set up a Neighbourhood Spy Club
So onto our important mission; making it all happen!
What’s a spy without some gear? No spy can be seen out there without the essential spy gear and equipment! This is one of the most important parts of planning the spy club. So what do the kids need? Get them involved and let them come up with all the goodies that they think will make them the best spies ever. But here are some ideas to spark those creative minds.
- Binoculars – this is a must have item
- Disguises – definitely another must have. No spy can be seen in their normal garb, as they’ll be recognised and who knows what could happen to them. Think coats, hats, sunglasses, gloves or anything else the kids come up with. If they want to appear like a government agent a briefcase might be cool too.
- Camera – how can you collect evidence with no camera? It’s not possible. The suspects need to be caught in the act, so to speak.
- They’ll also need a phone and a walkie talkie for confidential correspondence with their team mates. It would be great if the phone and walkie talkies worked, but otherwise, they can live with just the plastic variety!
- A notebook and a pen. Well this almost goes without saying. They need to record everything suspicious that goes on around them.
- A map of your area. This is important for planning missions, so everyone knows where they need to go.
Finding the Spy Club Location
All spy clubs need a secret location for them to catch up about their missions, and for no-one to know where they are. This is their headquarters and is one of the most important parts of their spy club. So have a brainstorming session with your kids as to where this secret location might be. Here are some ideas.
- It could be in your backyard. Could you set up a tent, or build a fort with them, or perhaps there’s a clearing amongst the trees somewhere, you might even have a big tree where the club can climb up and meet. Maybe you can even get creative with crates and enclose an area in your backyard, which belongs just to the spy club.
- If this isn’t possible, then maybe there’s a neighbourhood park nearby that’s safe for spies to go, and where the club can find a super cool hangout.
- If you don’t have a backyard, perhaps make it in a room in your house, even if it’s their bedroom. When spy sessions are in play, they can make a ‘Do Not Interrupt’ sign for their door.
Recruiting a Spy Team
- You can’t exactly have a neighbourhood spy team, without some spies, so your kids need to get out there and choose their favourite and most trusted friends that they know have what it takes to be a super spy. They can start off with just one or two friends, and as their spy club takes on bigger missions, so more secret spies can join.
- Organise the team. Your kids will need to decide who does what. If it was their idea, then naturally they’re the boss and they need to tell each spy what their job is for the spy club.
- Once everyone’s agreed, it’s time for the fun part; choosing a spy name! Oh yeah this is the best. Of course as parent you can have one too, as you have been a major part of the set-up of the spy club. Maybe you can be ‘M’ – awesome, how important! Just don’t tell the kids that you’re really the brains behind this.
- Everyone needs to get the right gear. So get your kids to create a list of all the gear the other spies will need and they will need to bring them back to the spy club secret location.
Another very important part of setting up the spy club is their own secret language. There are loads of secret codes your kids can learn, but here are just a few ideas.
- Ubbi Dubbi – the syllable ‘ub’ in inserted before each vowel of a word. For example the word ‘hat’ would be ‘hubat’. Check out this website for all things Ubbi Dubbi
- Mirror Writing – this is where you write in reverse from right to left. The kids might find this a bit of a challenge, but give it a try. Here’s a website to look at for more on mirror writing.
- Letters for numbers – this one is quite easy where A = 1, B = 2 etc.
- Pig Latin – this is really cool once the kids get the hang of it. It might seem a bit difficult to start but once they catch on its heaps of fun. To convert a word to Pig Latin, remove the first consonant, place it at the end of the word, and add ‘ay’, so ‘duck’ becomes ‘suck-day’. For words that begin with vowels, move the first vowel to the end, and add ‘hay’ so ostrich becomes ‘strich-ohay’. Here’s a website that actually translates sentences into Pig Latin, how cool is that?
Practice and Training
As they say, ‘Practice makes perfect’, and for any spy this should be the number one rule. Always check and always practice.
- The first thing the spies need to do is test out their equipment. Does it all work? Do they need batteries? Do the cameras take pictures? Are the notebooks practical to carry around? Do the disguises work well? Check, check and check again.
- Let them go out ‘in the field’ and have a few practice runs, taking pictures, talking to each other over walkie talkies or by telephone. AS we said earlier, you need to know that they’re safe, so let them have their practice mission wherever the spy club is set up, whether it’s your backyard, their bedroom or a local park.
- Get them to discover their neighbourhood, backyard or park – good places to hide, good places to watch out for suspicious activity and the practical elements of it; do they need to run up hills, stairs or downhill. They need to know what’s going on around them and study their maps very hard so they know every last inch of their terrain.
- Every good spy needs to train and get lots of exercise so that they’re on top form for their missions. Set up an obstacle course in your backyard, take them to the park and get them using all those muscles. Get water balloons for them to throw for target practice, create a laser obstacle course from string and get them running, jumping and doing sit-ups too.
Planning the Mission
Well, everything is ready to go now…the spy team is gathered, they have their equipment, their disguises, their secret location, and they’re super-fit and ready to go.
- Give them a mission to complete. Perhaps you can ‘hide’ some clues around the backyard and pretend a thief has stolen something from you. They need to find all the clues to solve the mystery, or it could be as simple as finding the neighbourhood dog that keeps messing up the lawn, maybe there’s someone that’s always speeding on your road. Get creative; think of anything that they will need to investigate. More than likely as their club gets into its groove, they’ll be finding the missions themselves.
- Remind them to all work together and see how they solve their awesome mission!
Once they’ve completed their mission, give them a good old pat on the back and they’ll probably need some much needed supplies to keep those bodies in tip-top shape. Throw a secret picnic for them and watch on for more great adventures.
We run a Junior Detective Programme, and we are always looking for super-cool detectives, if you think your kids have what it takes, get them to sign up. They can keep us updated on their neighbourhood spy club, to give all out other detectives some great ideas!