Secret Agent Spy Academy -7yr- ID Cards
Judd in Nashville, TN, USA
For my daughter's seventh birthday party, we put on a Secret Ageny Spy Academy at our house. My daughter has been very interested in spies, ninjas, secret clubs, and the like, so this theme was perfect.
INVITATIONS: The invitations were written on plain paper with a typewriter font, in the style of a top-secret communique. Each invitation had the child's name - TO: Agent [NAME]" - and was "from" the Spy Academy Mission Director. The invitation told each child they had been chosen to participate in a top spy mission and that they would have to come to the spy academy to train. The invite had our home phone number as the RSVP number but we changed our outgoing message to be a faux "secret agency" recording. Each child who RSVP'd was required to leave their agent name and the "secret code word" that was written in invisible ink (lemon juice) on the invitation form. The child had to (with the help of a mom!) iron the invitation to reveal the secret code word. We put the invitations in a nondescript manila envelope and stamped "TOP SECRET" and "CONFIDENTIAL" all over it to make it look official.
DECORATIONS: We decorated our house like a spy academy. We cut out black shoeprints out of construction paper and put those down on our front walk leading to the front door. A banner above the door read "[FAMILY NAME] SPY ACADEMY and the children were greeted by a intake" receptionist (my wife). In our foyer we had a table set up to "process" each spy recruit into the academy. They first chose their secret agent name. I printed out a page of descriptive words and a page of nouns which were then cut out folded in half and placed in two bowls. Each child would pick one from each bowl and those together would be her secret agent codename. For instance we had a "RED DRAGON a DEADLY VIPER and a SCARLET NINJA" as new recruits. Then each child was thumbprinted and put their thumbprint on their new agent ID card that we had pre-printed.
The ID cards had each child's name the "seal" of the Spy Academy a place to write down the secret agent codename that had just been chosen and a space for their thumbprint. Handwipes were a must so that the thumbprint ink didn't get on any clothes! Then each ID card was placed in a protective plastic card holder that you see at conventions and clipped to each child's shirt (we found the plastic ID card holders cheap at an office supply store). The kids had a great time picking out their secret agent codenames! Oh while all this was happening the "Mission Director" (me the daddy) was dressed up and standing behind trying to look intimidating - sunglasses black fedora trenchcoat with the collar up wingtip shoes and a briefcase! Next the children (about 16 - big party!) was split into two groups for secret agent training.
ACTIVITIES: We had various stations set up throughout the house. In the living room we had a "Disguise Skills" activity. We had raided the dollar store and purchased cheap sunglasses paper hats toy wigs fake mustaches and accessories (toy walkie-talkies spyglasses handcuffs etc.). We also added pieces of old Halloween costumes jackets and other gear and put everything in piles. The kids attacked it with gusto trying on different pieces and figuring out what kind of secret agent disguise they liked.
THANK YOU CARDS: We took a picture of each child in their chosen getup to email to their parents later and also to print out and include in my daughters thank-you cards. In the basement we set up a secret agent circuit training course. I used red yarn to first create a "laser web" that the children would have to navigate - without breaking a string! Then the child moved on to the "barbed wire" section which was strings of yarn with small sticks tied in them. The children had to get down on their stomachs and crawl under. Next ten jumping jacks. Last I had three Nerf balls (about the size of a tennis ball) and a paint bucket several feet away. The children each had three attempts to lob a "grenade" (the Nerf ball) into the "target" (bucket). Any child who got all three in would receive a special accomplishment sticker on their ID card. This was a great way to blow off some energy! The third station was target practice in our rec room. I purchased two paper shooting targets from Wal-Mart - very inexpensive. I put those in two glass frames that had previously held my diplomas and hung these on the far side of the room.
We had two Nerf dart guns with suction-cup darts. Each child practiced shooting the darts at the target. Since the target was in a glass frame the suction-cup darts would stick and you could tally the scores. We declared two winners who also got achievement stickers for their ID cards. After these training activities we merged the groups back together for "Secret Agent Mind Training." Everyone was given a piece of paper and pencil. My wife brought in a tray filled with various household items - a pen money a hairbrush book spoon watch etc. The children were allowed to look at the tray for one minute and then it was taken away and they had three minutes to write down everything they could remember. It was fun watching them try to brainstorm and recall everything the saw! Our last activity was a clue/scavenger hunt for all the spy recruits to apply their new skills. We wrote four riddles on paper and hid them. The children had to solve on in order to figure our where to find the next clue.
CAKE: At the end of the "hunt the last clue led them to our dining room where the cake was being served! After cake and ice cream, it was time for graduation." Each child received a Certificate of Achievement with their name the Spy Academy seal and the Mission Director's signature. I used a simple "Certificate" template on my computer and filled in the information. I also had purchased gold stars from an educational supply store which were affixed to the certificates. The children were so excited to be able to proclaim themselves "official" secret agents! We took several group pictures with everyone holding up their certificates. Each child also took home a secret agent "field bag."
GOODIE BAGS: I found a lot of supplies at the dollar store - canvas bags (on which we wrote each child's codename), sunglasses, tiny compasses, miniature flashlights, a small notebook and pencil (for the agent's "field journal"), an energy bar, a safety whistle, some pretend money, and a few other things. This was the "goodie" bag - secret agent supplies and tools! It too was a big hit. Afterwards my daughter proclaimed it to be the best birthday party ever! I just had to agree! "
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