Kids are naturally curious, as we parents are all reminded after answering the 99th question of each day by 11:30 a.m. (Just keep telling yourself, a child who asks questions is a good thing, and it’s not part of a long game effort to cost you your sanity.)
They love classic detective books like Nancy Drew and mysteries like The Boxcar Children. They’re obsessed with the Spy Kids movies and The Inbestigators series on Netflix. And you’ve been playing Dog Crimes every day during lunch break. Your kids are just fascinated by all things detective, right? It’s time to feed their curiosity with the best spy gear for kids. Children love discovering things, and they can use spy toys for kids to investigate. Whether they’re studying clues or using binoculars to spy on their siblings (hopefully without starting WWIII), they can have fun while sleuthing, satisfy their curiosity, and also learn at the same time.
Now, as a parent, you may feel it’s your job to steer that curiosity in a positive direction. You have to teach them that it’s okay if they’re using the spy gadgets to catch dad sneaking pork rinds between meals and cheating on his diet. It’s not okay if they’re using spy gear to break into their little brothers/sisters treasure box.
Teach them good from bad now with these spy gadgets for kids, and you won’t feel as compelled to spy on them with an app when they’re teens. Now listen, they may start trying to “lift” your fingerprints to get into your iPhone, let’s hope they aren’t that good at being junior detectives.
Any detective wanna-be would do well to start with fingerprint detection. (Sure, we understand solving crimes with fingerprints is extremely old school these days. But do you have the cash on hand to purchase a laboratory grade DNA sequencer for your child? In this economy? Not bloody likely.)
All of the items ship inside a sturdy plastic case, and there are detailed instructions included, so the kids can learn exactly how to use the kit properly.
This kit has fingerprint cards, a stamp pad, and dusting powder. And if you think that sounds like a huge potential mess waiting to happen, it certainly could be. This spy toy for kids may be one of those toys that is only usable under parental supervision, at least around your white carpet and furniture.
Kids who have a lot of curiosity about investigations and detective work will love this toolkit, as it has multiple items designed to let them explore … and do a little spying along the way.
Some of the tools included in the kit are a magnifying glass, fingerprint powder, plaster for taking casts of footprints, and even crime scene tape. (Now, older kids are almost certainly going to wrap little brother or little sister in crime scene tape and parade them around the house as a criminal for eating the last doughnut or stealing the toy out of the cereal box. This is just something you may have to learn to live with and hope it doesn’t scar the little one too much going forward.)
The 48-page instruction manual includes a faux crime that the child can attempt to solve, so it’s a fun game too. And that hopefully will give them less time to spy on you and the rest of the family.
The Purple Cow spy gadget kit mixes the best of investigative work, fun with spying, and science experiments, giving curious kids plenty to do to keep them occupied. Kids will feel like a real researcher in their own laboratory, even if that lab is tucked away in the corner of a bedroom.
Step-by-step instructions are included with the kit, so kids can use it safely and properly. You will need to add some common household items to the kit to make a few of the experiments work. Children will learn to ask questions regarding how to solve certain mysteries, and they then can use the gear to prove their ideas, just like a real detective.
The Purple Cow has a variety of other science themed kits that kids will enjoy once they complete their detective work. Among the eight kits, you might even find enough things to do to keep a curious, question-asking kid out of your hair for a few days. Yay, parenting!
This Secret Decoder set provides more than 50 activities, allowing kids to collect clues to solve the mysteries. This kit results in less free play sleuthing and more trying to solve mysteries in almost a game atmosphere. But it still helps kids develop many of the same problem solving and critical thinking skills that they are seeking when working like a detective.
This is an activity set that kids can do alone, with parents, or with siblings. Kids can use decoders to break codes or figure out secret messages.
There’s even an invisible ink marker included in the set, allowing kids to write and reveal secret messages. Added bonus: An invisible ink marker isn’t going to destroy your walls and furniture when the 3-year-old gets a hold of it because the 9-year-old failed to put away his or her toys again. (Sure, this isn’t much of a victory, but some days, any victory is a reason to have a celebration with wine. Don’t judge us.)
Here’s another spy toy for kids that’s more of a game than a free play detective kit, so it’s a nice introduction to the world of sleuthing and spying for kids. (Additionally, if you’re worried about the kids overdoing the free play spying with some of the other products on our list, eventually resulting in the neighbors filing for restraining orders, this type of kit may be the better choice.)
Each kit has eight different activities built around two mysteries, where children will test various powders and liquids from the crime scene to help them decipher clues and match fingerprints to solve the mystery. This kit includes everything you’ll need to play, including baking soda, test tubes, decoders, and pH strips.
Many aspects of the kit are easy for children ages 8 and higher to do by themselves, but adults can join in and provide help as needed.
For older kids who’d like to truly learn some more about detective or police work, this spy gear mission extreme kit allows children to work their way through a murder case, looking for clues to help them solve the case. They study the evidence, such as fabric samples and fingerprints left behind at the scene. Additionally, the junior sleuths can access the spy game’s website to read through a police file attached to the case to find extra clues and information.
The well stocked kit contains testing supplies they can use to practice detective work, such as a fingerprint dusting brush, fingerprint powder, and fingerprint lifting tape.
This kit’s aimed for older children or teens, as it contains some gruesome descriptions and salty language and is recommended for those age 16 and older. (Younger kids have probably seen worse on the evening news, but it’s best to not take any chances, at least if you don’t want to become the target of the group of social media moms who never do anything f****** wrong. Oh, hell, now I’ve used salty language. Please don’t tell the group; I can’t face their disapprovals this week.)
For serious kids who want to be able to do some actual detective work on the go, this briefcase spy kit gives them plenty of freedom in how they’ll do their spying.
This is among the best spy gear for kids that you’ll find, it includes a listening device, binoculars, and rear view glasses, so your little spies can see if you’re standing behind them at the same time they’re spying on someone else. The briefcase protects all of the gear stored inside, which is a good idea for children who are rough on their toys. (So basically all of the children.)
Included is a 16-page adventure book, so if the child can’t find any mysteries on his or her own, the adventure book has some ideas for creating a reason to break out the ultimate secret spy gear.
True sleuths need to have their spy gadgets close at hand, ensuring they’re ready to solve any mystery that pops up at any time. This SpyX set of spy gear for kids ships with an adjustable utility belt that the child can wear around his or her waist with all of the gadgets attached. (Yes, the nerd factor with this spy belt is off the charts. Although if you add a Batman logo to the front, you might be able to save the child’s dignity. Nobody knows how to create a utility belt like Batman.)
This set of the best spy gear for children includes a micro flashlight, an invisible ink pen, a motion detection alarm, and a micro listening device. These devices clip and unclip from the belt quickly, ensuring the child has immediate access to the items whenever a mystery appears.
Even for a kid who isn’t really old enough to want to start solving mysteries, these spy gadgets are a lot of fun to play with on their own.
Spying is a lot more fun when children can work as a team to do surveillance. Kids can keep each other up to date on the activities of their spy target with a range in these radios of up to 6 miles in open areas. (Don’t expect to achieve this distance in your neighborhood with its houses and buildings, which we’re going to say is a positive thing. Allowing your kids to walk 5 or 6 miles from home to do their spying probably wouldn’t be your finest parenting moment.)
Each of the radios in this set of three kids spy gear walkie talkies includes a rechargeable battery, which makes the set a good value over time versus buying alkaline batteries constantly.
This walkie talkie for spies includes a built-in flashlight, which can help with certain sleuthing tasks. Pair these walkie talkies with some of the other spy gear on our list, and your kids will feel like real detectives in almost no time.
Kids tend to love the Minions from the Despicable Me movie franchise. (In large part, we imagine, because the Minions help kids figure out new ways to get into trouble.)
If your older, Minion loving kids are looking to do some detective work, they will appreciate this Minion spy gear camera. One of the most important aspects of a spy camera is its ability to blend into the environment around it, so the subjects under surveillance don’t know it, and this camera will fit in with the other Minion toys you already have.
This camera captures 720p HD video quality that you can view over an app, so the spy kid will need to have a smartphone at his or her disposal. It also has night vision and two-way talk.
Sure, the kid will probably end up with 59 minutes and 55 seconds of worthless footage and 5 seconds of the dog sniffing the camera. But on the bright side, watching that footage will keep the kid out of trouble for a whole hour.
Now that you found the best spy gadgets for your little investigator, check out our other toy guides for kids of all ages.