From stealthy movements to deciphering secrets, spy games for kids make any child feel like a mysterious secret agent or detective. Whether you're looking for new games to try at home or planning a secret agent birthday party, these fun spy games for kids will keep them occupied on missions all day.
Educational Secret Agent Spy Missions for Kids
Spy school kids' activities are fun as part of your lesson plans in the classroom or learning opportunities at home.
Who Wants That? Game
If you're looking for an icebreaker game for the first day of school for eight to 10 year-olds, or you want to teach an economics lesson about wants versus needs, this game is for you. All you need are writing utensils and printable shopping checklists for each student. The game works best in groups of five or more.
- Each kid thinks about a few things they currently want and need from a big box store like Walmart and adds them to the appropriate columns on their checklist.
- Once all lists are handed in, number each one and hang them on the wall.
- All students must then write in their own secret notebook who they think is responsible for writing each list and what clues gave them away.
- At the end, have everyone write their name on their list and discuss the results.
When detectives and spies collect clues about who committed a crime, they often look for DNA. Since each person's DNA is unique, it easily identifies who left it behind. To start this STEM spy game, each child will need to make a DNA model using mini-colored marshmallows, licorice ropes, and toothpicks.
- Each student or group should make a unique DNA structure, then make an exact copy of it.
- Once complete, the entire class sits with their heads down and eyes closed while one student hides the copy of their DNA model somewhere in the classroom.
- The hider student should make clues about where they hid the model.
- The clues should be left on the desk with the student's DNA.
- The rest of the students must use the clues to figure out where the DNA is hidden.
- When students think they've solved the crime, they can sit back down and write down where the DNA is hidden on a slip of paper.
- The next student can then hide their DNA and create clues.
- Continue until all crimes have been solved.
- The winner is the student with the most correct locations.
Spot the Puns
Older kids who understand what puns are can compete to count them all in fun picture books based on puns or jokes for this Language Arts activity.
- Choose a picture book filled with puns like 7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar or Exclamation Mark by Amy Rosenthal, and count all the puns in the book.
- Provide each student with a pencil and notebook.
- As you read the story aloud, kids can write down all the puns they hear.
- Try to read slowly and pause after each page, so they have time to write.
- At the end of the book, see who spotted the most puns.
Printable Spy Games for Kids
From logic puzzles to code-cracking worksheets, there are tons of fun spy printable activities you can use as spy games. Choose a printable to include in your spy or detective activities, then incorporate its storyline or theme into your other activities.
Pet Mystery Game
In the Animal Lovers' Logic Puzzle, kids have to use the given clues to determine which kid chose each unusual pet. Extend the activity by changing the names on the worksheet to the names of four kids at your party, and hiding stuffed animal versions of the four pets around the room. Hand out the logic puzzle to each child. Once a child figures out who each pet belongs to, they'll have to be stealthy in finding the stuffed versions and returning them to their rightful owner before anyone else does.
Horse Code Secret Messages
Use the printable Horse Code to leave secret messages for your secret agent. Send your kids on a mission to do a chore or find a prize by creating a message using the symbols from the horse code answer key. Draw the correct horseshoe symbol for each letter in your message. Cut the horse code printable into strips, so each row of symbols/letters is separate, and hide them around your space. Kids will need to find all the pieces of the code answer key and use them to crack the secret code and discover their spy mission.
Spot the Differences Spy Test
A big part of being a good spy is noticing details. Challenge your kids to complete a "spot the difference" worksheet like the printable Spot the Spooky Differences handout. Give them a magnifying glass to make the activity feel more spy-like. Add to the challenge by setting a short time limit.
Simple Spy Activities and Games for Kids
Hand a child a magnifying glass, a notebook, a pen, and any other spy gear to create a spy in the making. For some kids, that's all it takes for them to bounce away in search of a mystery to solve. For others, however, you may need to help them develop their "spy skills" using detective versions of simple games they already know.
One person picks out an object in a room and states, "I spy with my little eye…" They then describe the object in one or two words. Other players try to guess what the object is. You can also use other senses such as "I hear with my trusty ear..." or "I smell with my smart nose..."
Players are asked to look closely around the room before leaving it. Then, one person takes one object and hides it in the room. Players return to the room and carefully observe what might have been taken to determine what's missing.
Write a Letter in Invisible Ink
A secret letter doesn't take fancy pens or paper. All you need is some lemon juice and a cotton swab. Dip a cotton swab in pure lemon juice. Have the kids write their letters. Allow it to dry completely. Hold the paper up to a lightbulb to see its hidden message. This is a great way to create hidden messages for friends.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie is a fun detective game for kids that involves figuring out which of the three statements made by another kid is a lie and which two statements are true.
Create a Symbol Code
Creating codes is part of spy work and is always fun for kids. Write the alphabet on a piece of paper. Then create simple shapes to stand for specific letters to generate a cipher to share. Kids can then create letters with their secret code for friends.
Building a Detective Memory
This is a fun and simple game that your little spies will love. Add a bunch of random items to a bin or table. Cover them with a blanket. Reveal them for 30 seconds and see how many things your littles can remember. The winner is the one who remembers the most items.
Spy Party Games for Kids
If you're hosting a spy party for a holiday, carnival, or birthday, group games that incorporate detective and secret agent skills are easy to create. Look for games that involve cracking codes, sneaking around, or solving a mystery to keep kids engaged.
This non-competitive spy game challenges each child to spy on another throughout the party. Supply each child with a mini notebook and pencil. Inside each notebook, write a guest's name. Make sure you have one notebook with each guest's name in it, and don't give anyone their own name. Write several questions in the notebooks, one on each page, of things the child can observe about the person they are spying on. The game's object is to write down the answers to each question without the target noticing that you are spying on them. Everyone who completes the challenge without getting caught by their target wins. Questions might include:
- How many scoops of ice cream did the target eat?
- What gift did the target bring?
- Did the target sing "Happy Birthday?"
- How many games did the target participate in?
Blend In Obstacle Course
Spies need to be able to blend in with their surroundings and hide. This simple obstacle course uses body outlines in different shapes to help child spies hide in plain sight. To start, you'll need some painter's tape for this indoor obstacle course. To make this an outdoor obstacle course, make the outlines on large pieces of cardboard; you can stand against trees or lay on the ground.
- Choose the route for your course, like around the living room.
- Walk the route and create a tape outline of a body in a specific pose every five feet or so. Poses might be standing on one leg, two arms raised high overhead, or a squatting position, and it helps to use your child in those poses as the model you tape around.
- Alternate the body outlines, so some are on the wall and some are on the floor (like what you might see at a crime scene).
- Make footprint outlines leading from each body outline to the next.
- As each child runs the obstacle course, they have to correctly stand or lay against each pose in order, and step only in the footprint outlines.
- Confirm each pose for the child and time them, then see who completed the course in the fastest time.
Tournaments are easy competitions to set up for groups of any size.
- You'll need to create a tournament bracket on a piece of poster board to start.
- Choose three to five different types of puzzles that will challenge the child detective's skills in figuring out how to solve clues quickly. Types of puzzles include actual puzzles with pieces you fit together, word puzzles, rebus puzzles, and funny riddles.
- For the first puzzle you choose, you'll need one for each player. Pair players up randomly, give them their puzzles, and the first person to complete their puzzle from each pair moves to the next round.
- In the second round, you'll have half as many players and will still need one puzzle per person.
- For each round in the tournament, choose a different type of puzzle. Whenever possible, use the exact same puzzle for each player, so the skill involved is the same.
- The last person standing is the winner.
How to Play Spy at Home
Whether it's a rainy day or a birthday party, spy games get kids excited because they involve stealth and mystery. Give your child the chance to be a secret agent for one day by suggesting one or more spy games. They can dress up in a trench coat and carry a magnifying glass to get into character.