Idea No.

23166

Secret Agent Party -9yr- Spy Pen Invite

Award

Date

September 2011

From

Cheryl in Williamsburg, VA, USA

September 2011 Winner

Spy Party

We hosted a secret agent party for our son's 9th birthday, however this party would work for older kids, too. Younger kids might have a harder time with the spelling-based code games.

INVITATIONS & DECORATIONS:  A "spy" party calls for special invitations something secret and clandestine. We chose to hide our invitation message inside a pen. When the top of the pen unscrewed the message pulled out. The pens were inexpensive ballpoints (Target). The paper wrapped loosely around the ink tube. A thin thread was tied from the message to the cap top to be sure it pulled out easily.  The message read:  Your special agent expertise is needed to prevent global catastrophe while celebrating (name)'s birthday!  RENDEZVOUS POINT: your address DATE: 4/18/2011 TIME: 1400-1630 hours CODE: "nitro" RSVP Spymaster: phone and email  Come incognito (wear a dark shirt) and bring this pen.

DECORATIONS: We kept our decorations simple black balloons and table cloths crime scene tape and paper piton guns. The gun is a simple shape with a grabber attached to the gun via a flashy string.  Each agent had a personalized bag to collect favors that would accumulate during the party. The red bags were lined up along a counter in a festive array.  Their names were printed in a large free to-download TOP SECRET font.

PARTY GAMES & ACTIVITIES:

1) Decorate Marshmallow Shooter Piece As the guests arrived and successfully recited the code word they were each given a spy belt for their costume and irected into "headquarters." The belt was hand sewn from nylon webbing and plastic buckles with two black pouches sewn from inexpensive black material and closed with Velcro.  One pouch held a small flashlight (Oriental Trading) and the other a folding magnifying glass (ebay). While they waited for all the guests to arrive the agents decorated a PVC tee joint that would later be used for a marshmallow shooter. At this point though they were just instructed to color the white plastic piece using the provided sharpie pens so that they could distinguish it from the other agent's. 

Once everyone arrived I read them a TOP SECRET note from headquarters (message placed in large manila envelope labeled in special font):  Citizens in the country of Allegirlandia have been frustrated by the resistance of elementary school boys to the power of LOVE. In fact males in the range of 7-10 seem immune to romance if not altogether repelled by it.  But that may all soon change!  Scientists in Allegirlandia have developed a secret formula proven to turn the hearts of young boys into mushy love pots.  Intercepted communications between Allegirlandia officials indicate that 5 highly concentrated vials of love potion have been produced already and are currently in a secret holding area awaiting global circulation via satellite controlled missiles.  We need your help to confiscate the vials and destroy all records on production of the formula.Elementary school boys across the country are depending on you!   

2) Finding the Secret Plans The first step of the mission was to retreive the plans for making the secret formula. Our inside information said that the plans were in a secret vault (made of duplo blocks) nearby Everyone was issued a special detonator (soft flame football) from Oriental Trading) to complete the mission. The agents had a "blast" destroying the vault but to their surprise someone had beaten them to the secret plans. Instead they found moles! The moles were felt finger puppets that had messages inside that read:  GOTCHA!!  BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME!!  LOVE RULZ!!  IT’S OUTTA HERE!! BYE BYE DUDE!!  TOO LATE 4 U!! ON 2 U!! POTION EXISTS!! TOO BAD SO SAD!! BOYZ DROOL!!   The agents concluded that the security of headquarters had been compromised. They ran back to see if the room had been bugged.  3) A Clean Sweep for Headquarters  The agents raced back to headquarters to search for secret listening devices. They found candy "bugs" (Oriental Trading) as well as pretend electronic bugs (glass gems decorated with 3D paint to look like mini computer microphone contraptions). It didn't take long for one of the spies to realize that on the bottom of the electronic bugs were letters. A few minutes later they figured out that the letters came in four different colors. The colors indicated separate words. They moved the letters (around to reveal a hidden message: satellite photo in wagon. Was this a hit?  Some of the agents asked to take the glass gem bugs home! 

4) Satellite Photo Investigation Immediately all agents donned their shoes and headed outside in search of a wagon. Taped under the wagon they found an envelope containing two identical satellite photos. The photos were labeled: TOP SECRET *The path to truth is rocky*. I used Google earth and Microsoft Publisher to get an image of our yard and add two tiny stars where fake message containing rocks were hidden. The agents used the magnifying glasses from their spy belts to scan the images. It took just a few moments for them to locate the special marks on the map. The agents divided into two teams and began to search.  It took longer than I thought for the agents to find the secret message rocks! The rocks were Easter eggs covered in a hardened mixture of sand coffee grounds salt and flour.  I put them in piles under vegetation as indicated on the satellite photos. The agents quickly discovered that they could be opened inside each rock was a couple of candies a pigeon finger puppet and a note indicating a particular letter to be used in the next game. 

5) Carrier Pigeon Relay Historically carrier pigeons have held important roles in ferrying information. Our agents stayed divided into two teams one team on either side of a rope loop connected by pulleys. The letters in their rocks spelled a word clue a different word for each group that would only make sense if each team had both words. The agents were to write the words/letters in magic disappearing ink (Oriental Trading) and "fly" it to the other team using the rope line. They clipped the note to the pigeons and rope with a clothespin and passed the pigeons between each other along the rope line. They eventually figured out that the mystery words were "PLAY ROOM" and bee-lined back into the house. 

6) Black Bag Operation Agents arrived at the room only to find that it was blocked by a curtain and CRIME SCENE tape. A dusty ventilation shaft (play tunnel) was the only way in (I blocked the door with a dark sheet but the tunnel went through) Inside vials of "love potion" (candy from Oriental Trading) were on a platform that was well protected by laser surveillance (red crepe paper and various movement detecting toys/birds). The agents needed to sneak through the tunnel using their flashlights duck under the lasers grab a tube of potion and exit quickly all in the dark! This game was one of their favorites everyone came back for more turns when the party was over  Outside the room agents noticed that the potion had a strangely ominous symbol. Using their magnifiers they read "neutralize to deactivate" below the symbol. This meant that the potion would remain active unless measures were taken to neutralize it! They had seen the symbol on a table outside off they went for another step in their mission! (I got the biohazard symbol here http://www.suite101.com/view_image_articles.cfm/442407 copied it into Microsoft publisher recolored it to black and white for printing then had my kiddos color them yellow again with markers saving expensive printer ink). 

7) Neutralize the Potion I set up a table covered in yellow cloth and BIOHAZARD symbols. There our spies discovered that one of the symbols on the table had hidden instructions. They used their magnifiers to read the message: empty the test tube of secret crystals into the bowl (two tablespoons of magic snow powder from ebay) add two quarts of water (pre-measured in water bottles) and stir. As they stirred "snow" magically appeared-- perfect for cooling down the love potion's activation crystals. Next they had to get a hold of the crystals. The crystals (acrylic hearts and diamonds) were loosely seated on inverted plastic tubes (dollar store luau item) on the biohazard table. They had to knock the crystals off the tubes using mini-water shooters (Oriental Trading) then put the crystals in the snow. Just as the agents were feeling victorious one of them noticed that the biohazard table was guarded by robots (mini wind up Oriental Trading). Sure enough on the backs of the robots were more tiny messages that read:  You should have minded your own business!  Now your business is mine! BEWARE Knucklehead!  Something is ticking in the kitchen.  Go to the kitchen to have a blast! This ain’t over yet!  THE BEST BLAST is YET to COME!  YOU will soon be Bits and Pieces!  Your agent skills are DYNAMITE!  8) Find the Dynamite

CAKE: In the kitchen the agents found the dynamite cake hidden in our (cool) oven. It was a jelly roll cake with red frosting and an oversized pipe cleaner for a wick.  I made mini-bombs (cake balls with pretzel wicks) and put them around the cake in case some of the kids might prefer them over the cake.  They enjoyed PREVENTING this blast by eating the cake!  We had some fruit and cheetos out as well. However they soon noticed another problem the heart shaped ice in their drinks had letter beads in them! ( I carefully snuck one ice cube with a clue word into each glass each special clue had all the letters for one word.) They put the clues together while finishing their cake and snacks and realized with great (imagined) shock that the real bomb still existed and they had only minutes left to find it  Clues (robots) in hand the Agents raced into the kitchen. Sure enough they found a stick of dynamite surrounded by mini TNT bombs hiding in the (cool) oven!  The dynamite was a jelly roll cake with red frosting and an oversized pipe cleaner for a wick. The mini-bombs were cake balls with pretzel wicks. They enjoyed PREVENTING this blast by feasting on cake and lemonade until they noticed something suspicious floating in their lemonade the heart shaped ice in their drinks had letter beads in them! More clues?

WHAT COULD BE NEXT?  NOTE: I watched the ice carefully so that as soon as the first bead was free all the kids were aware of them (choking hazard)!  I made sure each glass only had one "word cube" and several plain cubes so that reconstructing the words would be easy. The words led the agents to a different room a place where another "REAL" bomb was expected  9) Diffuse the Bomb A pull-string pinata bomb had been cleverly hidden under a table in a room they'd already been in. They soon discovered it and set to work on diffusing it. Red string blue string polka dots are usually the ground which to pull first so much pressure! The agents took turns pulling strings until they found the one that opened the pinata and released the loot.  The spy gear loot included gummy candy spy rear-view glasses (for safety!) and a bag containing a half cup of marshmallows rules of the marshmallow gun game to come and a puzzle piece. It took the spies a few extra seconds to discover the puzzle pieces and put them together-- they had one more thing to find the pieces to construct their own marshmallow shooters!   9) Marshmallow Shooters  The location of the marshmallow shooter pieces was revealed when the puzzle was put together. Agents found a bag containing 16 pieces of pre-washed (dishwasher) 1/2 pvc pipe to use to put their shooters together: 2 straight connectors (mouth pieces) 2 end caps 2 Tee connectors 2 elbow connectors  24" of 1/2" straight tube cut in lengths (one 5" one 4" three 3" three 2" pieces).  The tubing above works out to $1.84 each with supplies from Lowe's. Of course you may want to experiment and see what works best for your kiddos.  The agents were super creative with their designs. Just drop a marshmallow into the mouthpiece give a good breath and watch the marshmallow fly. The agents were good about wearing their glasses. They played until their parents came to get them!

COSTUMES AND FAVORS Each agent got to take home all of the items they collected from our games including their costume (spy belt glasses and marshmallow shooters). We all had a BLAST though thankfully the agents successfully kept danger out of the party! "

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