DIY Gift: Detective Kit

by Amy on December 15, 2011

diy detective/spy kit for kids

I think I’ve mentioned before that my girls are into detectives, spies, secret codes, and all things mysterious (not scary!). They are reading Nancy Drew Notebooks, Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew, Encyclopedia Brown, Jigsaw Jones, and Cam Jansen book series like crazy!

I’ve been gathering ideas for detective/spy kits for quite a while, so we decided to make them for Christmas gifts this year. I think the girls are going to love their detective kits!

I finally had a few daylight hours without the girls so I could take some photos – this secret gift-making and blogging is hard to do when the girls and I are home together every day! Here is a peek at what’s inside:

detective/spy kit for kids

Each super-sleuthing detective kit contains:

Rearview Mirror Spy Glasses – I found these at Cost Plus World Market. Land of Nod has them as well.

Invisible Ink Pen (with black light in the lid) – I also found a two-pack of these pens at Cost Plus World Market.

Disguise – less than a dollar each at a local party store

Small file folders – I made these from colored card stock.

Stickers – I printed labels that say Top Secret, Confidential, Property of…, and Evidence.

Two-Way Radio – The big-ticket item in these kits are the two-way radios. I know the girls are going to have such fun with these walkie-talkies. This set of Motorola Two-Way Radios was around $40 on Amazon. (We’ll use them for family hikes, too.)

I wanted a briefcase-type container for the detective kits and I found these Art Bin containers at the craft store. With coupons, they were under $5 each and seem nice and sturdy.

detective/spy kit briefcase

I had to fancy them up a bit, though, so I added some patterned paper and a name tag to each briefcase.

detective/spy kit for kids

We’re also including a few books for more detective inspiration:

I’d like to add a Walkie-Talkie Dictionary (@ Classic Play) and a few secret code accessories, like a cipher wheel or alphabet symbol code. We’re also including a small combination lock so they can lock their briefcases if they have secret evidence inside.

I’m planning to see lots of imaginative sleuthing play around here in the new year – hope I don’t end up as a suspect!


Ann Saylor December 16, 2011 at 5:16 am

Oh, your girls will love these!! How clever and how fun!

Amy December 22, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Thank you, Ann! I think they are going to be quite thrilled! :)

Catherine December 16, 2011 at 7:37 am

I love these! I might just have to try and encourage some spy activities around here so my kids get interested in it… Can you post a review of those walkie talkies after the kids get them? I bought some others for my son but they didn’t work well at all so the kids lost interest in them.

Amy December 16, 2011 at 7:53 am

Yes, I will definitely let you know how the walkie talkies work for us. My husband and I already tried them and they seem great!

Lori December 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

Oh wow! this is such a great gift! I need to bookmark this for my twin nephews’ birthday present, they would love it. Great idea and execution!

Amy December 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Thanks, Lori! These would be excellent birthday gifts – you would be the superstar Auntie! :)

Leah December 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

Such a cute idea! I’m pinning this for next year since I’m already all shopped out for this year… :)

Amy December 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Thanks, Leah! Happy Holidays!

sue cooper December 23, 2011 at 2:01 am

I bought my grandson a kit for Christmas because he likes to play like he is a spy. But a few more ideas is a magnifying glass to search for clues, a bandana as a disguise, some tweezers and small empty containers and empty envelopes to put clues. Also wouldn’t it be cute to have some family members or friends let you take pictures of them acting like they are bad guys or make a mug shot like they are in jail and let them tract down the criminal. That could be a fun party idea too. Sorry I do go on but my mind will start going a million miles a minute with ideas when it gets started. Hope you like my ideas.

Alison December 23, 2011 at 6:46 am

What a cute idea! I would have loved this as a kid. Happy holidays!

Kelly April 2, 2012 at 4:11 am

Thanks for your great ideas, Amy.
I found these fun CSI activities that budding detectives are sure to enjoy. Your detective kit idea was a big hit with my sons.

Heidi of 'Operation Organization - MN' November 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

wonderful collection of ideas (esp. the book suggestions!!) I’ve got a 2nd grader who has been mildly obsessed with spy games since getting wrapped up in the movie/s ‘Spy Kids’ :)


April November 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

This is genius – thank you for sharing!

DIY Woodwok Plans June 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Thanks for finally talking about >DIY Detective
or Spy Kit for Kids <Liked it!

julie July 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Awesome! Do you have the digital file for the stickers that you’re willing to share?

jenny December 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm

My summer reading club has an Investigating theme for the summer holidays – January- and this has given me some great ideas for making up a spy kit!! Thanks so much

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