Even as a kid I was never really into the spy stuff. I think this program had a decent number of cool activities, but I just didn’t have the normal enthusiasm. Or maybe it was something in the air because I remember my boss being very low energy that day too. I think we were all taking the election results to heart and it had a negative impact on morale.
We started the night with having the kids make ID badges with a code name and a copy of their fingerprint. Then we used toothpicks and a cornstarch mixture to make “invisible ink”. It magically appears when exposed to heat, so you could put it in an over or (like I did) run it under the iron to reveal a secret message.
The spy training portion of the program was playing a really large group game of spot it. I was hoping there would be a spy or detective themed version, but there wasn’t so we played the regular version. There were complaints of cheating and not being able to see.
We actually spent the bulk of the program going over the pigpen Cipher, I had passed out a paper with the alphabet grid and a secret phrase. After the pigpen cipher we partnered up and worked on building a secret decoder wheel for encrypting and encrypting secret messages. The kids had a bit of a time figuring out the cipher and decoder so I did a lot of walking and fixing as I went.
The last activity of the evening was to dust for fingerprints. I made my own powder out of cornstarch and tempra paint.
Activity: ID Badges
Activity: Cornstarch Invisible Ink
Activity: Spot It Game
Activity: Pigpen Cipher Decoding
Activity: Secret Decoder Wheel & Encryption
Activity: Dust for Fingerprints