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Sunday Fundays! #1: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier - SPY!

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Sundays can be tough - you’ve got pressure in the evenings to get geared up for school and work again, and some families have activities in the morning for their church or other gatherings.  By the time all of that is done, and you have some food - you have this weird chunk of four or five hours that you need to fill.

Instead of getting sucked in to chores, or short-circuit your family time with a hurried activity - we’re creating a series we’re calling “Sunday Funday” - these 2-3 hour adventures can easily fit in that middle time on Sunday afternoon (or any day or evening that you need to fill a few hours).

The first?  SPY DAY!  How cool is that!?

Preparing your spy day

(30 minutes any time in advance)

The good news? There’s not much prep!  

  • Some craft supplies - coloring tools (markers, crayons), scissors
  • Pre-print badge sheet or blank paper for kids to make their own badge
  • Pin or tape to secure badge
  • Create a code, and the tools to decipher the code (this is easier than it sounds - see the section below)
  • Have a problem to solve, or a treasure to find - this may take a few minutes, perhaps they need to find the decoder and then decode a secret message?  Or they need to find pieces of the clue, then put the clues together to solve the message?
  • Get a compass.  If you don’t own a compass, find a map of your town that you can use to orient the family to North, East, South and West.

What every spy needs to have

In addition to being clever, every spy needs a few key skills.  

  • They need a badge
  • They need to have endurance and physical fitness and a sense of adventure and daring
  • They need secret spy gear
  • They need a mission and/or a problem to solve

Badge

Every awesome spy has a badge.  We have a few outlines you can use HERE. You can print that sheet and then kids can cut out the shape they like and decorate their own badges. Or, you can give them blank paper and have them create a badge on their own.

When they are done creating and decorating their badge - attach it to their shirt, or have them tuck it in their pocket so they can easily pull it out and show people their spy badge.

When you are completing the badge - have a conversation with your kids about badges - who carries a badge? Do they know any people in their lives that have badges?  When would you ask to see someone’s badge?  What is the purpose of a badge?

Endurance, physical fitness and a daring sense of adventure!

Here’s your opportunity to create a mini workout for your family - start with some stretching, then move to a little cardio.  Here’s a recommended sequence:

To start your workout - using a compass, or a map, get the family together and have everyone face North (spies definitely need to have a great sense of adventure).  If it’s a beautiful day, go to a park.  If the weather is cloudy, you can do this in your living room or garage.

  1. Spy stretches - spies are very observant - they look at their surroundings and observe what’s going on around them
    • Reach for the sky - look for airplanes and helicopters
    • Reach to the East, stretching your side and arms
    • Reach to the West, again, stretching side and arms
    • Reach to your toes
    • What do you see or notice in your surroundings?
  1. Spy squats and jumps - spies have to jump over things, and squat to get down under things. If you want to be really creative, have kids jump over pillows and squat down under a table or something fun like that - a mini obstacle course!
  2. Spy jogging - outdoors? Then a slow jog around the park, inside, jog in place.
  3. Spy sprints - if you’re outdoors, set up a jogging circle and have everyone run one section of the circle as fast as they can.  Indoors, jog slowly for one minute, then “sprint” in place for 15 seconds, then jog slowly, etc.
  4. Spy cool down - Spies also need to move slowly and quietly. To cool down from sprints and jogging, have everyone walk slowly in a circle, see how quiet they can be… slowly, can they all make themselves as small and quiet as possible?  We love this idea for a fun spy-like exercise, so easy to build (crepe paper and tape, or string and tape) - (thank you to itsalwaysautumn.com)
  5. Finish with spy stretches to check out their environment again.

Secret Spy Gear

There are lots of tools that a secret spy might use, including common everyday tools like tape and scissors, and less common tools like a decoder ring, or colored glasses.

One look at Amazon for “spy supplies” and you get a bunch of awesome ideas - if you want to plan ahead, how about getting some of these:

  • Walkie Talkies
  • Night vision goggles (maybe to use in a dark room in your house?)
  • Glow in the dark paint
  • Invisible Ink (or disappearing ink)
  • Flashlight
  • Metal safe with combination code
  • Combination locks
  • Decoder rings
  • Spy glasses or spy magnifying glass

If you want to go all out - you can craft a treasure hunt that has your kids searching high and low to solve clues and uncover a fun treasure.  But you don’t have to have all those toys to have a fun spy adventure.

You can use these fun alphabet decoders to write clues and have your kids solve the clues.  Our big thanks to Simone at www.simonemadeit.com for the awesome resources.

The Mission

This can be very long and complicated, or something short and sweet.  Ultimately, you’ll want to utilize areas of your neighborhood or local park, or places in your home that your kids know well.

Here’s a simple Spy Mission that might give you some fun ideas:

Lion on the Loose - an Indoor Mission - Easy

  1. First clue - typed in an envelope from the secret agency

Dear [your child’s name here],

My name is Inspector Serious.  I am from the Animal Control department of Toy Island.

I am frantic.  We are missing a lion, his name is Leo.  We know he got away from Toy Island on Monday.  But we have not been able to locate him.  If you can find him, I think we’ll all feel much safer.

I have one clue for you to get you started.  Good luck, and be careful.

Sincerely,

(sign here)

Clue: Leo loves the water and he loves to be clean.  When he left on monday, he said he wanted to take a bath, but no one has seen him since.

[Hide the second clue in the bathtub or shower]

  1. Second Clue - leave a fork, knife and spoon in the shower or bathtub.  When your child(ren) get there, they will have to deduce what this clue might mean?  If they need hints, ask them questions, like, “Where do you think Leo was before he came here?”  “Where would Leo have gotten these tools?”

This clue will take the kids to the silverware drawer or a place where you store silverware. Write the word “silverware” down for your first clue.

  1. Third Clue - When the kids get to the silverware drawer, they will open it and find the decoder of your choice (from the link above, or from a code you created yourself - you can learn about making your own code with this great resource for complex or easy codes, thanks to WikiHow).

For this clue, kids will take the time to unscramble a secret message that takes them to their bedroom - for older kids, perhaps a complex clue like “under your pillow” and for younger kids - “Bedroom” might be enough).

  1. Fourth Clue - tuck the little stuffed animal under the pillow and celebrate when your little spy uncovers the toy!

Of course, you can add as many steps as you like, and make the path from one step to the next complicated (with obstacles or challenges -like what if you put a sound monitor in the hall and the kids had to move through the hall undetected?).

Have fun on Sunday Funday!  And keep an eye out for Sunday Funday #2.

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