I just had the most fun night with my Activity Day girls! To get the girls thinking about serving others, we drafted them for the secret service, gave them some spy training, and sent them on a hunt (complete with spy clues) to find the instructions for their secret service mission. The kids loved turning into mini-spies, and they had so much fun! If you want to create a secret service mission of your own, be prepared for lots of giggling and general silliness. This activity would also be perfect for girl scouts or any other youth group for kids about age 8-11. I've got you covered with all the plans and printables, complete with clues, invitations, and training ideas.
Spy Training Secret Service Activity
Working with 8-11-year-old girls is really fun. Just like boys that age, they have a lot of energy and they love to be active and figure things out. For that reason, it was cool to change up our usual routine and do something that allowed the girls to run around a little bit. If you want to do this activity, it will work well in someone's home or at a larger location like a church building. We have a huge group of girls, so a church building was perfect for us.
Secret Service Spy Training Invitations
If you are good at planning in advance, of course you'll want to draft your girls into the Secret Service by sending them a cool invitation to your activity. If you are like me and sometimes fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to planning ahead, there are a couple of activities from this plan that you might need to skip: Invitations and Secret Agent ID badges. No worries, though. The activity will still be fun without them.
I'm including this spy training invitation in the printable at the end of the post. If you don't have time to mail or pass out the invitations, just fill out one invitation, take a picture of it, and text it to the parents. Easy peasy.
Secret Service Agent ID Badges
If you have time to text the parents to get photos of the kids, Secret Service ID badges are a must! (Even if you don't have time, the kids could draw pictures of themselves for the photo.) I printed them for the kids without code names so that we could choose code names at the activity. I am including these in the printables at the end of the post, but they are a lot easier to create digitally.
How to Choose a Code Name
Unless you want the kids to create their own code names, try this fun and easy activity: Make two lists -- one of animals or spy-type creatures, and the other of positive qualities of a person. Put the words from each list into two separate bags or hats. To choose their code name, the kids pick one name from each bag. The quality is the first half of their code name, and the animal is the second. Here's a sample list:
You could even start with the list of animals and have the kids brainstorm the qualities to include. (Or, they could brainstorm both lists.)
Once the kids have their code names, write them on their ID badges, and it's time to start the activity!
Secret Service Spy Training
Unfortunately, it's winter around here, so we had to skip the obstacle course. We did, however, find a way to incorporate this laser maze into our secret service mission.
The main activity is a treasure hunt (in spy fashion) to find the envelope containing the secret service mission instructions. When you design your hunt, strategically place a laser maze (created with red yarn and painters tape) across an area the kids will need to travel in order to find a clue. While they're on their hunt, they'll have to navigate the lasers in order to find one of their clues. (This is seriously the kids' favorite part. When the activity was over, the girls did it over and over!)
If you are setting up the maze in an LDS church building, the carpeted lower half of the walls can present a bit of a problem, but the tape will stick to it. We set up our maze in the hall outside a door to the gym. That gave us the door and door frame to use for more secure taping. If you can find two doors across from each other, that will really help. Warning: if you do set up your maze against a gym door (or any other door to an open area), be sure to put a taped X across the door on the other side to keep people from opening the door and ruining your lasers.
The Hunt (Complete with Spy Clues)
Your hunt will consist of five clues. You can divide the girls into more than one group if you wish. Just prepare a set of clues for each group and put them in different orders. The last two clues should be the same for everyone so that they all end up in the same place. We used two groups. Before the hunt, give each group a bag of clue decoders. (More about them under each clue.) Here's a sample clue order for one group.
Clue 1: Stretched Word Clue
The first clue is one word stretched so tall that it's difficult to read. It's fun to watch the kids try to figure out how to solve it. Many will think it's a maze before they notice that it is a word. Since all homes and LDS church buildings have kitchens, the word fridge should work for everyone. There is no clue decoder for this clue. Hide the next clue in the fridge.
Clue 2: Mason Cipher Clue
Hide an envelope containing the bottom half of the Mason Cipher clue in the fridge. This clue says: "Look under the library door." If you need to change the clue, try downloading the Masonic Cipher font. Don't make the same mistake I did! I learned the hard way that not all Cipher fonts work. When I originally tried the Illuminati font, I assumed that the symbols matched the letters in the cipher. Nope! When I sent the kids on the hunt (without checking my code) the clue decoded into nonsense. When I later checked the font, I realized that the symbols are totally random, and the same symbols repeat on multiple letters. Be sure to check your code! You could also just write your own code by hand.
The top half of the printable (with the tic-tac-toe and X shape) is the decoder for this clue. The kids can easily figure out it is the right decoder by matching the colors. (If you place this clue under the library door, consider taping it to the floor so that someone doesn't accidentally kick it into the locked library.)
Clue 3: Mirror Image Clue
Sticking out from under the library door, the kids should find an envelope containing the top half of the mirror image clue. The bottom half of the printable (with the mirror image text) should be used with this clue. The kids need to hold the card up to a mirror (probably in a bathroom) to read the message.
That clue will send them to the foyer on the west side of the building. If that clue won't work for you, type up your own clue listing a different doorway to the outside of the building. When you're done, flip the text box to get the reverse text.
Clue 4: Scytale Cipher Clue
Somewhere in the foyer, hide the long strip of paper that goes with the scytale cipher clue. An empty toilet paper or paper towel tube is the decoder for this clue. Direct this clue to the room in which the kids will find their scriptures (the same room you will end your hunt). We chose the Relief Society room.
To create your clue, cut a piece of cardstock into thin strips. Tape the strips together to make one long strip of paper. Wrap the strip of paper around the empty tube as shown in the above picture. It helps to tape both sides to the tube. Write the name of your chosen room on the paper strip and remove it from the tube. It's really fun to see the kids try to figure out how to solve this clue. Some kids get it instantly, and others need a lot of help.
Clue 5: Substitution Clue
Hide an envelope containing the bottom half of the substitution clue in your chosen room. The grid is the key for this clue. Place a "Top Secret" envelope with the clue. (More on that in a minute.) Don't let the kids open the Top Secret envelope until after they solve the clue and read the scripture about service.
I am including two different clues in the printable for this idea. My favorite scripture about service is found in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 2:17), but I am including a scripture about service from the Bible (Galatians 5:13) as well.
Mosiah 2: 17:
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
“. . . but by love serve one another.”
(For purposes of this activity, we're intereseted in the last part of the verse.)
Top Secret Mission
To create your Top Secret envelope, just tape the page from the printable onto a giant manilla envelope. (It doesn't even have to be a new envelope. The printable covers any writing on the old envelope. I love to recycle, and I'm cheap!)
What's in the Envelope?
What's in the envelope? The Top Secret Service Mission, of course! I got these great printables from The Fickle Pickle. One lists secret service ideas, and the other is "Mission Possible: A 7-Day Secret Service Challenge." They are perfect for this activity. I printed a copy of each on a single sheet of paper for each girl.
Once the kids read their scripture, take a minute to discuss service and how we are actually serving God when we serve other people. Then, open the envelope and talk about their secret service mission. Take the remainder of the time for the girls to fill the forms out with secret acts of service they'd like to perform during the week.
Just beware that the kids will probably hurry through the activity and then want to go back to the laser maze! Of course!
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More ideas you might like — Images below are linked
Have a great time with your activity. While you're here, be sure to check out more fun ideas. I have tons of free printable valentines to choose from! The images below are linked to the projects and printables.