spy camp wrap up

Yes- its been a long time coming but here is our spy camp wrap up.

We had around sixty primary aged children for three action packed mornings during the school holidays! The church and hall buildings were decked out with appropriate spy materials to set the scene.  It’s a big area to decorate (on a budget) so we hunted through the craft cupboard and used a lot of black paper/cardboard.

Here are some of the decorations we came up with.  We also used manila folders marked top secret, black cardboard briefcase shapes and footprints.

You can download a sheet of fingerprints here – we enlarged one to fit on an A4 sheet and made multiple copies of it.

So what went on?

Well, unless you have  top level clearance we can’t show you everything, but here are a few highlights. It was black hats, sunglasses, coats and spy wear as far as the eye could see.

The morning started at 9 am with security clearance, fingerprint identification and then into the secure zone (church building). It didn’t look like there was any way to get out but clever spies soon worked out the secret exit through the cupboard.

Each morning we had a different mission preparation session.

Day One – Basic training

Spy ID wallets with fake credit cards hiding our real spy identities.

The wallets were made from a square of black cardboard.  The bottom third of the cardboard was folded up and stapled to make a pocket.  Then the cardboard was folded in half like a real wallet.

Download a fake credit card here and print it two-sided with the images matching up. Each day the children collected a memory verse card and these can also go in the wallet for safe keeping.

Another option would be to attach cord to the wallet so it could be hung around the children’s necks with their name badge stuck on the front.  Good for kids with no pockets!

After mission preparation was mission training!  This involved breaking into two groups – infants and primary – and playing spy games such as capture the flag, what’s the time secret spy and other favourite games adapted for our spy theme.

By 9:45 we were ready for Mission Briefing in the church. Singing, skits, memory verses and solving the clues of what B C & F meant. There was lots of yelling and screaming and not only from the leaders. We discovered that B = belonging to God.

After some morning tea it was time for a field trip. This involved breaking into two groups and practising stealthy walking, hiding behind trees, etc, as we made our way down to the double agents detention centre (code for police station). I’m pretty sure that no one saw the thirty of us walking down the main street of Ballina!

While one group was having an informative tour of the police station the other half of us learned some secret code.

We also read ‘006 and a Bit’  – a funny story about a girl who pretends to be a spy.  I know it’s a book for little kids but everyone enjoyed it!

We finished up the day with a debrief and  ZONK – a quiz game that you really have to experience first hand.  After much yelling and screaming the questions were answered, points were awarded and everyone headed off home.

Whew.  Day one was a roaring success.

Day Two – Secret codes and investigative skills

During mission preparation we made alphabet code decoders and disguised Secret Agents Ross.

There are lots of sites with alphabet decoders.  We used this one from the nickelodeon site.  We printed out the larger wheel in back and white – this was the outer wheel – and then made another copy reduced by 70% for the inside wheel.  Just add a split pin to hold the two circles together.   There isn’t a lot of actual craft in this – just a bit of cutting out – but the kids still liked it and we used them later in the day.   Now you are ready to create and decode secret messages.

Disguising Secret Agent Ross was really just a fill in time activity but it was really popular so we repeated it the next day with Secret Agent Renee. We photocopied a photo and blew it up to A4 size.  Then we told the children that enemy agents were after Ross and that they needed to disguise him.    The tables were set up with colouring pens, glue and scrap craft materials and the kids went crazy.  They really enjoyed ‘disguising’ their leader.

The kids looked at the letter C. C = cost – it cost God to send Jesus to save us.

On day two a secret package was delivered but the agent was captured before they could pass on the combination code  (a backpack full of chocolates with a combination lock).  The kids were given a chance to guess the code but no-one could.

Our big activity was a secret code trail around the church grounds.  We broke into groups of about 6-7 kids and each group solved the first clue to find their spy kit.  The kit had an old CD (to use as a mirror to decode a clue written in mirror writing), a paintbrush and watered down paint in a small jar (to reveal a clue written in wax) and a clue sheet and pen for writing down the answers.  Clues were hidden in eight different locations and written in a mixture of different codes.  When all the clues were discovered and the bible verse was revealed the group had to go to Secret Agent Helen to get the combination code and gain access to the package. Chocolates all round!

Day Three – Weapons Training

Mission training on day three started with making bombs.

We started with a few lollies wrapped in a brown paper bag – sixty of these were made in advance.  Using strips of black crepe paper the kids wrapped the bombs, attached the straws as fuses and stuck on the word BOMB – just in case of confusion.  They really enjoyed this activity and it took quite a while as they were trying hard to get a really good looking bomb.

Todays letter was F. F = God wants us to be in his Family.

Activities for this day were:

cupcake decorating (the subject of a previous post),

bombing the nest (a game where four teams have a circle marked out on the floor and try to get 10 bombs into one team’s nest to blow it up – each person can only hold one bomb at a time and can remove it from their nest and place it in the nest of another team),

soft drink bottle launching

and making our own TNT.

Bottle launching and TNT making were such a great hit that they deserve their own post.

Everyone enjoyed their cupcakes and had a bomb to take home.

It was a great, crazy three days and we’re already wondering what out next holiday kids club theme will be.

Some good sites for spy type activities

Birthday Party Theme site – http://www.birthdaypartyideas.com/html/spy_party.html

My Paper Crane – see a detective birthday party theme  http://www.mypapercrane.com/blog/?p=1968

Spy craft ideas http://www.topspysecrets.com/kids-spy-equipment-for-free.html

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