As a reminder, Spy Academy is a four week program, running for an hour once a week. I have it open for ages 6-11 and the biggest thing was that I needed the kids to be able to read.
This has probably been one of my favorite programs to do and I know the kids enjoyed it a ton too (have already had some ask when they can sign up for next year–ay caramba!)
MATERIALS NEEDED: cut out popular characters, tape
Every good spy needs to make sure their interrogation skills are on point! We played a well known game for this one (although I’m not sure if it has a name?) and it was a HUGE hit and a ton of fun. I printed out a bunch of different characters (many book characters but also pop culture ones) and taped one to each kids back. The kids then had to try and guess their character using only yes/no questions. We played for about 15 minutes and then the remaining kids we all worked as a group to help them figure out their character. All in all, a lot of fun, and it got the kids up and moving which is important!
MATERIALS NEEDED: Masking tape, scissors (we used painters tape bc we had a lot of it from a previous program)
Is it weird that I had a bunch of 6-11 year olds pose as dead bodies and tape outline each other? Maybe. Did they have fun doing it? Definitely.
To make this one go as smoothly as possible I split them up into groups of 3 and within their group they took turns taping and lying down. I was very proud of their awesome teamwork as well :)
MAKE A DISGUISE
MATERIALS NEEDED: Tape, glue, scissors, construction paper
A good spy also knows how to blend in or be undercover… disguises were definitely needed! I printed a bunch of glasses and mustaches printables from online but I think the kids has more fun creating their own (like in the picture below).
MORSE CODE BRACELETS
MATERIALS NEEDED: Morse code translator, pony beads, string
This one was a little tricky and some of the younger kids just ended up making regular bracelets BUT the kids that understood it thought it was super awesome that they could make a secret message of their name. Basically they needed three colors: one for the dot, one for the dash, and one for a spacer between letters (this was often white or black). They each had a morse code cheat sheet in their TOP SECRET folders from the first week (and I had extras for the kids who were newcomers). By assigning one color to a symbol they could spell out their name!
MATERIALS NEEDED: discarded magazines, paper, glue and scissors
SOLVE A MYSTERY
This was a huge hit and the kids got VERY into it! I videotaped a couple teens (who were more than willing to help me) in a “crime scene” where one “stole a book”. We had witnesses and suspects. The kids had to compare the teen in the crime scene with the suspects we interviewed. They also went to the crime scene (in the teen zone) and interviewed the teen library assistant who gave them more clues such as a shoeprint that was found in the snow. It didn’t take long for me to film or edit as it was all very low-tech.
If you do this, make sure you tell your kids at the end that it was all pretend because they all seemed to believe it and were very disappointed in the teen who ended up “stealing” until I told them it was pretend at the end.
I HIGHLY recommend this program to childrens and tween/teen librarians. If you have any more logistical questions feel free to comment!!