Travis’s current favorite show (Odd Squad), is about a team of kids who solve odd cases. So he couldn’t have been more thrilled than when he discovered his latest Kiwi Crate was all about being a secret agent. Needless to say, I barely had time to glance at the parent manual before we dove right in!
First, every secret agent needs a gadget, so Travis got to Build Your Periscope. This was a matter of folding the provided cardboard base…
…peeling stickers from each of the two mirrors to attach
…and securing it all with rubber bands.
He loved peeking around corners! For a quick STEM lesson, explain to your budding agent how they are seeing the reflection of a reflection, as opposed to a simple mirror reflection straight on. You can also flip one periscope piece to see things upside down, or make it longer or shorter by sliding the pieces together.
Next up, we got to Explore Secret Messages. There are two folders labeled “top secret”, one containing patterned paper and one with blank white paper. Use the provided markers to write messages on the patterned paper. The secret agent spy glasses (with red lenses) will cancel out the red lines that obscure the page so that messages can be detected.
This was a bit tough to illustrate to a non-reader, but I helped him understand which colors showed up best by drawing a series of lines with the markers, then giving him the glasses.
Next we took turns drawing pictures with the provided invisible ink and UV pen. The latter turns on with a switch, and was by far his favorite item in the kit.
Our booklet recommended making an invisible map, so I sent him off on a hunt around the house. A real secret agent on the move! He soon proudly designed a map for me, leading to a “villain” we had to catch.
Finally, every agent needs to Pack Your Briefcase. Travis helped insert brads and elastics as the clasp, and to set up a cardboard insert with elastic fasteners to hold his agent supplies.
Now your little detective can store their markers (regular and UV!), as well as all the Top Secret folders and spy glasses.
Travis paraded around with this briefcase the entire rest of the day, filling it with other items he deemed necessary for an agent. What fantastic imaginative play it prompted!
We then delved into Explore magazine, which had us learning about other codes and doing fun find-it pages. Next we explored other ways to leave a secret message. First up was white crayon. Because Travis can’t read, this was most easily illustrated for him using his name. We wrote with white crayon on white paper, then painted over it with watercolor for the big reveal.
You can also color over your white crayon with colored pencils.
One neat idea is to send a hidden message to a friend. Wrap up a happy birthday message and give it to a friend with colored pencils so they can uncover the secret.
Travis’s next code was made with lemon juice. First, squeeze a lemon – always fun!
Dip a paintbrush in the lemon juice and write out your message. Once it dries, place a second sheet of paper on top and go over it with a hot iron (grown-up step).
All will be revealed! We had fun making this a secret message for daddy.
Finally, the booklet gave a lesson on fingerprints and the ways that secret agents use them. Travis was quite intrigued, and tested leaving his prints on our window.
He copied the suggested fingerprint art, checking out his unique whirls and swirls.
Then it was time to get creative – this print turned into a long-legged spider!
In sum, Kiwi Co hit it out of the park with this one!