Idea No.

12115

Spy Party -10yr- Jewel Heist Caper

Award

Date

September 2005

From

Kim in Lawrenceville, GA, USA

Special Mention

Spy Party

Spies Age10  My daughter loved to read Nancy Drew and watch Totally Spies on TV, and wanted to be a Spy for Halloween so I developed a SPIES birthday party.  I created an Agent name for each child invited,.  (i.e., Vienna Casablanca, Jacques Columbo) 

The invitation from the Director of Operations at the Secret Intelligence Agency was addressed to each agent said they were needed for a mission of utmost international importance.  Report to: (details of party) to receive their mission assignment. (Everyone invited came!)  They would be undercover as a partygoer to celebrate a birthday. The SIA was counting on them and the other agents being contacted to solve this international mystery of danger and intrigue.  They were to notify the Agency with their intention of accepting the mission (RSVP). 

When they arrived, a sign in the driveway said Welcome to Monrovia (a made up country) and the sign on the door said SIA Conference Room.  Upon entry each child was pinned with an SIA picture id badge (I created them on the computer and laminated themùthey looked real!).  I also gave them their loot bag first which contained binoculars, magnifying glass, sunglasses, a one use camera, a notepad and pencil and some candy (everything except the camera was purchased at the dollar store). 

On the notepad I put a sticker that said SIA Confidential: Agent Notes. My husband and I dressed in black suits, id badges and sunglasses. They sat at the kitchen table and the meeting started.  I presented an envelope with the mission's notes and instructions.  I had a small binder that had Company description (I copied some of it from the CIA website!), memos, decoding information, and research notes about Monrovia, the country, and special jewels that were to play a part in the plot later on. 

Basic Plot: There's been a murder in Monrovia of a key SIA agent who was on the trail of enemy agents of the KDZ.  They have stolen Monrovia's crown jewels and the SIA has to find who did it and return the jewels to avoid an international incident.  I started them out with one clue, which led to the next.  Every clue also had one or two puzzle pieces, when put together created a map.  (I bought a 48 piece map (dollar store), constructed it wrong side up and drew a map of the floor plan of my bedroom a.k.a. the Monrovian Museum of Modern Antiquities.)  The clues provided at the kitchen table were 8 puzzle pieces and a cassette tape--a garbled communique from the murdered agent they had to listen to a few times to understand. 

The cassette tape led to a clue in a book that they had to decode with a simple alphabet code.  The book clue led to a clue a piece of music (Happy Birthday), where notes had been highlighted which created a password to a computer message that when decoded (it was in another language and had to use a internet translation site to decode it) led to a set of keys hidden under a rock.  The keys had been referred to in the cassette tape so they figured out it opened one of the cars in the driveway. Inside the trunk was an envelope containing a newspaper article  (The Monrovian Times) about the murder, where it occurred (name and address of my next door neighbor) who was involved, etc. I created this on the computer using doodle paper which has the same off white thin quality as newspaper.  The newspaper article led them next door where my neighbor had agreed to be the restaurant owner where the agent was killed. 

She really created a persona and was very hard to deal with but gave them the answers they asked upon interrogation.  She gave them more puzzle pieces and a menu with highlighted letters that when decoded created a message that led then to the next clue message in a fortune cookie in a Chinese take out carton hidden in the microwave.  But there were 8 fortune cookies!  Each kid got one to find out who had the clue. (Fortune:  Those who look for pasta in the pantry uses their noodle.) 

I wrote another clue on spaghetti (geez!) and that led to a briefcase under a bush that held a velvet bag that had the crown jewels in it!  (Buy two identical sets at the dollar store.)  By now they had enough puzzle pieces to figure out the map.  So they had to break in to the Monrovian Museum and steal the fake jewels and replace them with the real ones!  The museum (my bedroom) was big and dark.  I strung yarn from furniture piece to furniture piece to simulate laser security beams and told them not to touch or they would set off the alarm.  They planned their heist as a team and sneaked into the room having to dodge these beams.  I even labeled things in the room to make it more museum-like (The Athena Diamond, Queen Camilla's Crown, Royal Bed of King Cisyphys.) 

As soon as they had replaced the jewels I signaled my husband and he manually set off the house security system.  The sirens sounded and they ran!  We met in the kitchen to debrief with ice cream, cake and presents. As the children left they each got a Commendation certificate from the SIA thanking them for their meritorious service. They had taken pictures of the clues and themselves and had to think to solve the case. I think they had a great time and I had as much fun setting it up as they had playing it out.  It's a fast paced party and took about 2 hours.

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