Best Spy Gear For Kids

Spies are cool. That’s just a fact. When you’re a kid, being a spy seems like the coolest possible job you could ever have. Boy or girl, at some point, I think we all wanted to be James Bond or Harriet the Spy.

As we grew older, maybe that changed to Jason Bourne or Evelyn Salt, but that lingering love of spies never quite left us. If you have kids in your life, chances are they feel the same way. That’s why spy gear for kids is so popular, and over the years, it’s gotten so much cooler!

Back when we were kids, our coolest “spy gear” included fake x-ray vision glasses that didn’t work, pens that patchily recorded audio, and journals with disappearing ink that could only be read under certain lights. The spy gear kids have now is far superior and includes high-quality gear like night-vision goggles, watches that record video and audio, and even laser traps! It’s enough to make anyone want to be a kid again.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best individual pieces of spy equipment and spy kits on the market today, and we promise not to tell on you if you buy some of it for yourself instead of for your kids.

By the way… Big Happy House earns a commission through the following hand-picked links at no extra cost to you.

Action Spy Gear – For Little Field Agents

If you’re looking for a great gift for the itty-bitty spies on your list, these 13 items are some of the best. Most are easy and intuitive enough to be used by younger kids/older toddlers, but they don’t sacrifice anything in coolness in exchange for their ease of use.

Whether your little one is into spy goggles, watches or high-tech laser beam traps, this section has just the thing for him/her.

Spy Net: Video Watch 2.0, with Night Vision

The Classic Spy Watch Packed with Tons of Features

Every young spy needs a classic spy watch in his arsenal, and this one by Spy Net is one of the best of the bunch. It’s designed for kids eight to 12, and it does a lot of cool stuff.

What We Like

In addition to the 1.4-inch, full-color screen and the rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery, we love all the cool features that come with this watch. It not only takes still photos; it also records videos that can be viewed via the live feedback feature on the screen.

The watch also utilizes authentic night vision technology for excellent, crystal clear nighttime pictures and videos.

Everything can be uploaded and saved to the company’s “main headquarters” at SpyNetHQ.com. Your children can also receive new missions and download messages from HQ, which adds a whole other layer of authenticity to their imaginary role playing.

With this one, you aren’t just buying a watch; you’re buying a very fun, comprehensive adventure.

Things to Consider

If your children are unable to access the internet for whatever reason, they won’t get the full benefits of this watch.

Additionally, there’s no place for external memory cards, so once the internal memory is full, they won’t have any way to save the images/videos they take without a computer.

What We Like:

Rechargeable battery.
Full, immersive spy experience.
Comes with pre-loaded apps and games, such as the Lie Detector app.
Equipped with real night vision technology.

Our Concerns:

Can’t be enjoyed fully without the internet.
Popular; goes out of stock often.
Check Price On Amazon

SpyX Night Mission Goggles

For Nighttime Spying

Another important gadget that every spy needs is a pair of high-quality night vision goggles. These won the 2016 Tillywig Top Fun Award, and they’re pretty decent.

What We Like

The glasses are well-made with an adjustable head strap for a comfortable fit and two high-powered LED lights that’ll allow your kid to see up to 25 feet in the darkness. For daytime play, the glasses feature a flip-out magnifying scope to enhance vision.

Things to Consider

These glasses don’t actually utilize night vision technology. The two high-powered LED lights are what allow your child to see in the dark. This cuts down on the “spy” element because anyone can see those bright twin beams looking their way. The battery pack on the back is also a little heavy and causes the glasses to slide on smaller children.

What We Like:

Can be used during the day or night.
See up to 25 feet at night.
Wide age range (6-15).

Our Concerns:

No real night vision technology.
Battery pack is heavy.
Check Price On Amazon

Spy Gear Ultimate Night Vision Goggles

Another Great Choice for Night Spying

If you don’t mind investing a little more money for a pair of really nice night vision goggles, these are probably the best ones. They aren’t cheap, and they’re popular, so they go out of stock often, but they actually work and are really fun to use.

What We Like

The goggles come with easy-to-follow instructions that tell you exactly how to use them, and they work exactly as they should. They use infrared technology to provide true night vision (as opposed to simply being glasses attached to flashlight beams) which means other people can’t see the spy coming.

The infrared lens flips up and down conveniently so your child can switch between regular and night vision mode with no trouble. The advertised “30 feet away” also seems to be pretty accurate.

Things to Consider

The batteries aren’t rechargeable and aren’t included, so that’s an extra expense. While you can see 30 feet away, the view is somewhat pixelated and only really works if you’re still; if your child is hoping to use these to run around playing tag at night, she’ll likely be disappointed.

We also found no difference between the advertised short- and long-range sights.

What We Like:

Actually works using infrared/night vision technology.
See up to 30 feet away in pitch dark.
Made well; look really cool.
Easy to use.
Have a “regular view” feature if needed.

Our Concerns:

Expensive.
Batteries not included.
No real difference between short- and long-range viewing.
Check Price On Amazon

Kidwinz Shock Proof Binoculars

Durable, Shock-Proof, Multi-Use Binoculars Designed Specifically for Kids

These don’t necessarily look spy-like, but they’re great binoculars. They feature high resolution, and their shock-proof, durable design is perfect for the hard wear and tear kids often put on their toys.

What We Like

These binoculars can be used by children aged three to 12, and the eight-times, high-resolution image is as clear and sharp as that on many “real” adult binoculars. The viewing area is highly padded and comfortable to use. They’re foldable and come with a neck cord, carrying case and cleaning cloth. They can be used for all types of non-spying activities as well.

Things to Consider

Other than the fact that these don’t look like real spy equipment, there’s really no downside to them, especially considering the price.

What We Like:

Eight-times magnification.
Crystal clear, sharp images.
Multi-use.
Easy to use; foldable.
Comes with good accessories.

Our Concerns:

Doesn’t look like “real” spy equipment.
Check Price On Amazon

Spy Gear Undercover Spy Cam

For the High-Tech, Generation Z Spy

Kids want spy equipment that’s useful, but it’s just as important to them that the gear looks cool, and this undercover spy cam that looks just like a cellphone definitely looks cool.

It features a detachable camera that attaches to walls and that activates whenever something moves nearby. Those images can then be viewed on the “phone’s” LCD screen or downloaded to a computer via the included USB cable.

What We Like

Mostly, we like that this undercover camera looks so great and comes at such a reasonable price. The fact that it comes with both the USB cable and suction cups for sticking the camera on walls is also nice. It’s easy enough to use that children as young as six can enjoy it.

Things to Consider

Despite the USB cord, the camera isn’t rechargeable. It runs off AAA batteries, which aren’t included. The video quality also isn’t as clear as some of the other spy equipment with video capabilities.

What We Like:

Reasonably priced.
Looks like a real spy gadget.
Motion-activated.
Comes with USB cable and suction cups.

Our Concerns:

Batteries are an extra expense.
Poor video quality.
Check Price On Amazon

Spy Gear Capture Cam

A Kid-Safe, Motion-Activated Spy Cam

At Big Happy House, we’re huge fans of the SPY GEAR brand of kid-friendly spy equipment. All of their products are just so well made and work so well. They do have a tendency to be pricey, though, but you’re paying for quality. This motion-activated camera is no exception.

What We Like

This camera, too, is motion-activated and comes with the USB cable for transferring pictures to the computer. It’s relatively small, so it can be placed in hidden, out-of-the-way spots, and it automatically snaps pictures when something moves near it.

With this purchase, your child will also have access to the Spy Photo Lab, which he can use to upload, save, edit and analyze his pictures. As with all SPY GEAR products, a quick scan of the QR code will provide your child with access to even more cool spy stuff.

Things to Consider

The camera runs off AA batteries and isn’t rechargeable, so that’ll be a regular expense. Additionally, if the camera takes pictures in low-lit areas or at night, the image quality isn’t great; it’s too dark.

There are no video-recording capabilities either, which seems disappointing for the price.

What We Like:

Motion-activated.
Comes with USB cable and access to the Spy Photo Lab and other online extras.
Small, easily “hidden”.

Our Concerns:

Pricey.
No video capabilities.
Requires AA batteries.
Check Price On Amazon

Spy Gear Ninja Video Walkie Talkies with 2-way Audio and Video

High-Quality Two-Way Communication with Video Capabilities

Whether kids are playing video games, basketball or spy games, it’s just more fun to play with a friend than alone. If you’re playing spies with a friend, though, you have to have a way to communicate.

Cellphones work, of course, but these two-way audio and video walkie talkies are so much cooler and more “spy-like.”

What We Like

These walkie talkies are a great way to convince kids to put down the cellphones and communicate in a way that’s a little more “old-school.” They’re durable and have reliable communication for up to 160 feet.

There’s no Wi-Fi or internet connection required; the walkie talkies run on their own power, and that includes the visual feature that allows kids to see one another while they talk (which is definitely a step-up from our own “old-school” walkie talkies).

They also come with headsets, which make them seem even more like realistic spy equipment. The built-in cameras also allow them to act as hidden surveillance cameras.

Things to Consider

The walkie talkies run off AA batteries, which aren’t included and can’t hold out for long under video chatting capabilities.

What We Like:

Reliable audio and visual communication up to 160 feet.
Doesn’t require Wi-Fi.
Can act as surveillance cameras.
Included headsets.

Our Concerns:

Batteries drain quickly.
Expensive.
Check Price On Amazon

SpyX Spy Walkie Talkies

A Supremely Affordable Two-Way Communication Option

If you want your children to have a reliable way to communicate outside of cellphones but can’t afford to spend a ton of money, these walkie talkies by SpyX are a nice, budget-friendly option. The range on them isn’t bad either.

What We Like

These walkie talkies are specifically built for children; they’re small and fit nicely in a child-size hand. They come with belt clips for hands-free communication and spying, and they’re reliable up to about 400 feet.

They’re simple to use and well made, so even if your spies get a little rough, these should stand up to the test. They feature talk and call capabilities.

Things to Consider

Like many other spy toys on our list, these aren’t rechargeable. They use six AAA batteries between the two of them, and the battery life drains fast if your kids are giving them a lot of use.

There are also no video capabilities like the SPY GEAR walkie talkies have, but for the price, they’re actually pretty nice.

What We Like:

Reasonably priced.
Durable.
Up to 400-foot range.
Hands-free option.

Our Concerns:

Require six AAA batteries; not rechargeable.
No video capabilities.
Check Price On Amazon

Spy Gear Secret Voice Changer

For the Prankster Who Enjoys Changing His/Her Voice

Whether you’re pretending to be spies or not, voice changers are just fun. We have adults here at Big Happy House who can’t put them down anytime they happen to run across one.

They’re great for a laugh, for playing pranks and for pretending to be a spy making private, secret phone calls. This one features several different effects and a playback speed feature to further warp your child’s voice.

What We Like

This voice changer comes with lots of special effects to warp your little spy’s voice including low- and high-pitch options, echo effects and ghost and robot voices.

There’s an easy-to-manipulate lever that can slow down or speed up the playback of recorded messages as well. It’s great for children ages six and older, and it’s small and unobtrusive for easy transporting.

Things to Consider

This isn’t a live voice distorter; it only works with a pre-recorded message, and it only holds one message at a time, which is a little disappointing considering the price. It also requires batteries that aren’t included.

What We Like:

Lots of different voice effects.
Small and easy to conceal/transport.
Enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Our Concerns:

Can’t distort voices in real time.
Only holds one message at a time.
Check Price On Amazon

SpyX X Roll-in Voice Bomb Recorder with Motion Alarm Toy

One of the Cooler, More Exciting and Unique Spy Accessories

This is easily one of the favorites among our crew here at Big Happy House. It’s just so unique and interesting, not to mention it looks like something out of a James Bond movie. The design is unarguably awesome, and it comes with several great features as well.

What We Like

This little device looks like it rolled straight off the set of an action-packed spy movie. It allows your kids to record short, ten-second messages and roll it into a room full of people as a “warning” or an “alert.”

It can also be placed in one stationary location, and when something walks by, the motion-activated feature kicks in and relays your children’s message.

Just imagine the possibilities of a “Don’t touch that!” when someone walks up to a cookie jar!

Things to Consider

Other than the lack of included and rechargeable batteries, this is another one of those tools that’s all-around awesome.

What We Like:

Records messages up to ten seconds.
Motion activated.
Perfect for guarding valuables.
Can be rolled into a room to send a message.
Looks amazingly cool.

Our Concerns:

Needs AA batteries to work.
Check Price On Amazon

SpyX – Lite Hand

Where Spy Meets Cyborg

Basically, this is a hands-free (or a hands-on, if you prefer) flashlight, but its design is so cool that it looks like something you’d find on the Terminator or something.

Despite looking great, it’s also a nice, hands-free way for your child to navigate her way through a dark house at night.

What We Like

Whether your child wants this because it looks amazing, to scare people or just to use as a hands-free flashlight, she won’t be disappointed. It meets all those criteria.

It includes four LED tube lights that run from wrist to fingers. They’re adjustable to fit a wide variety of hand sizes, and the lights themselves can be adjusted to look different.

The cool placement of the light provides light without fully giving away your little spy’s location to “the enemy.”

Things to Consider

Initially, your child may need some help getting this gadget set up, and there’s the additional and continuing expense of batteries to consider. Otherwise, this is a really cool tool.

What We Like:

Comfortable, original and adjustable design.
Lights can be controlled and changed.
Easy to use after initial setup.
Hands-free flashlight.
Looks amazing.

Our Concerns:

Some assembly required.
Needs AA batteries.
Check Price On Amazon

SpyX – Lazer Trap Alarm Invisible Beam Barrier

For Great Heist Role Playing or Protecting What’s Most Precious

What cool action/heist movie have you ever seen that didn’t have an elaborate laser trap set up to guard whatever it was the bad guy – or sometimes the good guy! – was trying to steal? Laser traps are at the center of every great diamond/bank/jewelry heist film ever made, and if your favorite spy has a big imagination, he needs a laser trap to go along with his creative stories.

What We Like

There are three pieces to this equipment, and you can set them up to four feet apart for a maximum amount of coverage. They aren’t real lasers, but the LED beams used are very sensitive and can pick up on the first hint of movement across the trap line.

In addition to role playing heist scenarios, they’re also great for protecting valuables or knowing when someone or some animal goes into a certain room of the house. The lines are invisible, so intruders don’t realize they’re there until it’s too late. The alarms are customizable.

Things to Consider

The initial setup of this kit is difficult due to the sensitivity of the beams. It’s not something most young children will be able to do alone. It could be problematic even for older children. The alarm also doesn’t sound for very long.

What We Like:

It’s a laser trap! It’s awesome!
Works really well.
LED beams are super sensitive.
360° adjustable configuration.
Customizable alert options.

Our Concerns:

Initial setup can be difficult.
Coverage range isn’t huge (15-25 feet).
Alarm only sounds for a few seconds.
Check Price On Amazon

Melissa & Doug Spy Role Play Costume Set

For the Little Spy Who Wants to Look the Part

This is the standard spy outfit – rearview mirrored sunglasses, a spy jacket and hat. It also comes with a few extras like a decoder and a “secret message.” It’s great for the spy who likes to play dress-up during his play sessions.

What We Like

We like that this is an authentic-looking outfit. If you ever check out old-school spy movies, the spies are dressed just like this.

It’s pretty adorable, and it’s perfect for toddlers and younger kids who still see things in black and white terms. As kids get older, they’ll realize that real spies look just like everyone else, but to a five-year-old, this look screams undercover spy.

Things to Consider

There’s no real spy equipment included with this set. It’s more of a costume than anything else, so if your child wants to have some authentic equipment, you may have to make an additional purchase to go along with the outfit.

What We Like:

Made from high-quality fabrics.
Durable and well-made; real clothes that can be machine-washed.
Very accurate spy-wear.

Our Concerns:

No real spy gadgets included.
Check Price On Amazon

Complete Spy Kits

These complete spy kits make great gift sets for all occasions and are really excellent for kids who are just starting to get into the world of spies. They come with a variety of different spy equipment so that your little ones can really feel like “the real deal” when they play.

They’re also perfect for kids with extremely active imaginations who enjoy role playing as spies, forensics experts or undercover agents.

RYAN’S WORLD Secret Agent Mystery Mission Case

Best Complete Kit for Younger Spies

If you have little kids and haven’t yet discovered the Ryan’s World YouTube channel, that’s definitely something you need to look up and share with your children.

Nine-year-old Ryan Kaji is adorable, and his videos are fun, wholesome and a great way to entertain your children when you have to do some around-the-house stuff. This kit is Ryan’s spy kit, and it has everything your little one needs to start his spying career.

What We Like

Ryan’s kit is designed specifically with young children in mind, so it can be used by children as young as three. The case also comes with a lot of great stuff including three spy-themed figures, tons of stickers and accessories, a code-breaker spinner, two wrist communicators, goggles and a flashlight.

In the grand scheme of things, your kids won’t be using it to do too much actual spying, but it’s great for sparking creativity and imagination.

Things to Consider

There’s really no bad here, although the price is a little on the high end.

What We Like:

Comes with a lot of great stuff.
Designed with little kids in mind.
Wrist communicators are super cool.

Our Concerns:

A little pricey.
Lid on the box doesn’t stay open well.
Check Price On Amazon

SpyX Night Ranger Spy Set

A More High-Quality, Mission Impossible Type Kit

This is a nice set of spy equipment for older children that combines some of the best SpyX equipment into one comprehensive set.

What We Like

The best thing about this set is everything that comes in it; it’s a nice selection of some of SpyX’s best spy gadgets, and the price is pretty reasonable considering everything that’s included.

It comes with the SpyX night mission goggles and the awesome laser trap – the same ones listed above – as well as with a micro voice distorter and an invisible ink pen and secret message papers for sending top secret spy messages. The pen even has a hidden compartment for hiding messages.

Things to Consider

As we’ve already mentioned above, some of these products require batteries that aren’t included and will have to be purchased again and again. The voice distorter also only works on recorded messages and can’t distort live voices.

What We Like:

Includes a lot of great products.
The laser trap set is awesome.
Everything is well made.

Our Concerns:

Batteries will have to be purchased continually.
Voice distorter doesn’t work in real time.
Check Price On Amazon

11-Piece Spy School Sneaky Surveillance Kit

The Ultimate Kit for Being Sneaky in School

This is a really nice set that’s reasonably priced and comes with 11 different pieces of spy/surveillance equipment, as well as a 24-page “decoy” activity book with over 20 spy missions in it for your child to try.

What We Like

The great thing about this set is that it’s just as educational as it is fun, and your kids will be learning a lot without even realizing it.

We were also pleased that one of the lessons in the activity book was about “ethical espionage,” which is really impressive since most companies market their SPY GEAR as sneaky ways to spy on sisters and rat out little brothers.

The kit also contains a lot of great stuff including a storage case with hidden compartments, periscope, spy scope, rearview sunglasses, a microphone/earbud combo and more.

Everything also looks like something else, which is super sneaky and cool. The mic/earbud combo, for instance, looks like a yo-yo.

Things to Consider

This is a great science/STEM learning kit that comes masked as a spy kit. Some of the gear will require some assembly, and some of it may be a little difficult for the average eight-year-old (the advertised age) to do on her own.

What We Like:

Very educational.
Reasonably priced.
Talks about the ethics of spying.
Includes lots of fun decoy items.

Our Concerns:

Some assembly required.
May not be great for the advertised age of 8+.
Check Price On Amazon

Alex Undercover Spy Case Detective Gear Set Kids Spy Kit

For the Young, On-the-Go Spy

Alex is well-known for making lots of great interactive craft/activity/spy sets that are pretty enjoyable for kids of all ages.

Although this one is marketed to kids aged eight and up, we found it could be used by children a little younger as long as they were supervised. This is a nice little kit that includes a lot of good stuff.

What We Like

This is an award-winning set that teaches kids about forensics, science, espionage and the importance of being organized.

It comes with lots of fully functional equipment like binoculars, fingerprint powder, an ink pad, marker pen set, magnifying glass and a flashlight.

The convenient carrying case means your little spies can take their tool kits with them while traveling as well.

Things to Consider

Overall, this is a nice set, but be aware that the fingerprint powder can get a little messy, so you might want to make sure that’s a supervised activity.

What We Like:

Comes with a lot of great stuff.
Easily transportable.
Introduces kids to science and forensics.

Our Concerns:

Fingerprinting can be messy.
Check Price On Amazon

SpyX Micro Gear Spy Set

Best Complete Set Overall

Voted Toy of the Year in 2015, this is another great kit from SpyX that features some of their best “micro” gear. All the gear also comes with a utility belt that is cool enough to rival even Batman’s belt.

All tools can be used in low-light conditions and by kids from ages six to 15.

What We Like

In addition to the utility belt, this set also comes with four micro spy gadgets: listener, ear light, motion alarm and invisible ink pen.

The gear looks authentic, like something real spies would carry. They’re lightweight and attach easily to the belt for easy storage and transportation.

Things to Consider

These are all small devices, so they’re a little easier to misplace than the full-size tools. Some of them will also require batteries to be replaced fairly regularly.

What We Like:

Cool utility belt to hold everything.
Four great devices.
Suitable for a wide variety of ages.
All gear looks realistic.

Our Concerns:

Parts are small; easily lost.
Requires batteries.
Check Price On Amazon

Spy Master Briefcase Black Spy Kit

The Most Realistic Look with Working Gadgets

Although this kit does come with a few working gadgets that are pretty cool, the real draw to this kit is the briefcase itself. It looks totally authentic, just like something James Bond would carry with him into his swanky hotel room (aside from the “Spymaster” logo written on the outside).

It has two latches to keep it closed, and the inside features a base with molded cutouts to hold the included spy equipment. The base can be removed to add more room inside the briefcase.

What We Like

Our favorite thing about this one is how real and authentic it looks. Your child will look like 007 or Evelyn Salt carrying this fancy briefcase around the house.

The gadgets are cool too. There’s a pair of rear-view spy glasses, a listening device with earphones, folding binoculars and a handbook.

Things to Consider

This is a real briefcase with locks and everything, so be sure to check for that Spymaster logo before running off with it to the office one morning!

What We Like:

Looks totally authentic.
Comes with four working spy tools.
Listening device includes headphones.

Our Concerns:

A little expensive to include only three spy gadgets.
Check Price On Amazon

Spy Lab, Forensic & Code Breaking

If your child’s favorite parts of spy work are breaking codes and putting together all the pieces of the puzzle to come to a reasonable conclusion, then these are probably the best gifts for him/her.

These final nine gifts are dedicated to forensics, code breaking and lab work. With this equipment, your little one will be able to feel like s/he’s really on the case and solving it.

Retroworks Secret Decoder Ring

An Extremely Cool Way to Send Secret, Coded Messages between Friends

If you want to buy your child something that makes her feel like she’s in The DaVinci Code or some other cool movie that requires code breaking to save the day, this ring is the way to go.

It’s also a great gift for you to buy for your child and yourself; that way, the two of you can send easy-to-decipher messages back and forth to one another.

What We Like

It’s made of high-quality stainless steel with a nickel coating. It comes with the entire alphabet and a rotating window to display the correct corresponding numeral to help your child easily decipher messages such as “9 12-15-22-5 25-15-21” (I love you) and “3-1-12-12 13-5” (Call me).

It can also help improve children’s critical-thinking and language skills.

Things to Consider

The size options for this ring are a little limited, so you might have to consider purchasing the ring and a chain so that you or your child could wear it on a necklace.

Additionally, some of us here at Big Happy House had green fingers after wearing the ring for too long.

What We Like:

Inexpensive.
Looks great; neat construction.
Cool decoding features.

Our Concerns:

Very limited size options.
Can leave some people’s fingers green.
Check Price On Amazon

Melissa & Doug Secret Decoder Set

Great Choice for the Budget Conscious Shopper

If you’ve spent any amount of time on our site, you know that we’re big believers in Melissa & Doug products. This secret decoder set is no exception; it comes at a great price and features a lot of goodness in one little package.

What We Like

To be so inexpensive, this kit contains over 50 different activities that involve clue-collecting and mystery-solving. It’s more like a game than an actual spy kit, but it still provides hours of espionage-related fun. In addition to the activity book and decoder, the kit also comes with an invisible ink marker for passing secret messages.

Things to Consider

Overall, this is a great kit, but if your child is looking for something with which he can do real spying – as opposed to spy-like activities – this may not be the best option.

What We Like:

Inexpensive.
Over 50 activities.
Extremely durable.
Teaches critical-thinking and reasoning skills.

Our Concerns:

Not suitable for “real” spying.
Check Price On Amazon

Spy Kit for Kids Detective Outfit Fingerprint Investigation Role Play Dress Up

An Authentic Look with Real STEM Activities

Although we were disappointed when we found out some of the main fingerprinting ingredients weren’t included, we still thought this kit was a great way to teach kids as young as six about forensic science, fingerprinting and other cool crime-solving techniques.

What We Like

In addition to teaching your kids about STEM in general and fingerprinting specifically – along with some other cool spy/detective-related activities, this kit also comes with a really authentic-looking spy costume.

There are dark sunglasses, a jacket, hat and magnifying glass. It’s a totally awesome set, and there are lots of fun experiments you can do together with your younger children.

Things to Consider

The kit doesn’t include the iodine or powder, which are pretty necessary for the fingerprinting exercises. Still, those are things you can find easily enough on your own. If you’re buying this kit for younger children, you’ll also want to supervise the experiments.

What We Like:

Great way to introduce kids to STEM.
Optimal for younger children.
Includes cool costume.
Lots of activities.

Our Concerns:

Missing key ingredients.
Some experiments require supervision.
Check Price On Amazon

Thames & Kosmos Master Detective Toolkit

Winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award

This is easily the largest, most comprehensive kit on our list. As someone who constantly rethinks her career choices and wonders if maybe she shouldn’t have gone into forensic science instead of English and literature, it’s also my favorite.

It contains a 48-page manual about forensics and how detectives gather evidence and solve crimes. It also comes with 33 pieces including barrier tape, fingerprint powder and stickers, petri dishes, measuring cups and a measuring tape, plaster powder, profile cards and much more.

What We Like

This is the closest kit on the list to what an actual forensics kit would look like and contain. Additionally, the manual comes with “mock crimes” that your kids can solve using the evidence and the forensics kit. It’s a fantastic kit all-around, and honestly, we had zero complaints with it.

Things to Consider

Although marketed for children aged eight to 15, some of the experiments in this kit could be difficult for children under the age of 12. Supervision and assistance will be needed.

What We Like:

Closest to a real forensics kit we’ve found.
Contains 33 pieces.
Excellent learning material.
Great introduction to STEM.

Our Concerns:

Not all experiments can be conducted alone.
Check Price On Amazon

Project MC2 Pretend Play Super Spy STEM Science Kit by Horizon Group USA

Reasonably Priced STEM Kit Marketed to Young Lady Spies

If Enola Holmes had lived in the 21st century, she probably would have enjoyed this Super Spy STEM kit. Although marketed mostly to young women, it really doesn’t contain anything overtly “feminine” and could just as easily be used by young men.

What We Like

This kit is designed for kids ages six years old and older. It contains some great stuff including crime scene tape, cornstarch, a secret spy notepad, magnifying glass, ink pad, fingerprint brush, black light pen and easy-to-follow instructions.

It comes at a very reasonable price and will allow your children to create crime scenes, solve crimes, fingerprint people and write and reveal hidden messages.

Things to Consider

Although there’s nothing specifically girl-oriented about the products in this kit, the packaging, itself, is geared more towards females, so your male children may not appreciate receiving the kit in front of their other friends.

What We Like:

Comes with a lot of stuff.
Encourages female interest in STEM.
Reasonably priced.

Our Concerns:

“Girly” packaging might turn off some boys.
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Alex Super Sleuth Kit Kids Spy Kit

Best for Children Aged 8+

If you have a child between the ages of eight and 12 years old, this is a great kit that blends detective work, code breaking and spy-craft together pretty perfectly. It’s called the “super sleuth” kit, but I think of it more as an all-around private investigator kit because it covers all sides of what an investigator would be required to do.

What We Like

There’s a lot to like about this little kit. There are a whole lot of great things included such as an entire fingerprinting kit (ink pad, fingerprint powder, brush, magnifying glass and lifting tape), some cool SPY GEAR (secret marker and rear-view mirror glasses) and a code breaker kit (two code wheels, a code book and two decoder packets).

It doesn’t matter what your child’s favorite part of detective work is, this kit has something that relates to it.

Things to Consider

Some of the instructions may be a little hard for younger kids to understand, and a few of the pieces – the code wheels – are kind of cheaply made. You’ll have to ensure your child takes extra care with them.

What We Like:

Explores all sides of detective work.
Includes a complete fingerprinting kit.
Includes cool spy equipment.
Very educational.

Our Concerns:

Instructions can be difficult to understand.
A few of the products don’t feel well-made.
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Scientific Explorer Scientific Explorer Crime Catchers Science Kit

A Science-Heavy Kit for Ages 8+

This kit, too, is more like a game than an actual spy kit, but it’s still a lot of fun. It’s a really nice science kit that teaches your kids to perform experiments and test reactions between different ingredients. (All of them are safe!) There’s also some decoding to do as well.

What We Like

This is a great option if you’re more inclined to have your children practicing spy-craft within a controlled, game-like setting as opposed to at school or out in the world spying on random people.

There are two mysteries to solve, and each mystery includes eight activities that must be performed to find the answer. This includes everything from matching fingerprints and DNA to decoding secret messages and testing the pH of different items.

The kit includes a lot of great science-like ingredients including test tubes, cylinders, pH strips, flour, citric acid and more. It’s like a series of science experiments in a box.

Things to Consider

Some activities will be difficult for children to do alone and will require adult supervision and assistance.

What We Like:

Very educational.
Keeps kids spying safely at home.
Inexpensive.
Contains all needed ingredients.

Our Concerns:

Includes no actual “spy equipment.”
Has a finite number of activities.
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The Purple Cow The Crazy Scientist Lab Young Detectives Science Kit

For Fingerprinting Fun

This is less of a spy kit and more of a science kit, but it does provide kids with hours of STEM-related fun, so we decided to include it anyway.

What We Like

Although there are a finite number of activities that can be done with this kit, there’s enough of them to keep kids entertained for quite some time. The activities in this kit are more about conducting scientific/forensics research than spying, but they’re enjoyable nonetheless.

Things to Consider

These are dedicated science experiments for older kids who can safely follow instructions to conduct experiments on their own. This isn’t a kit for a young kid who wants to see in the dark and listen in on conversations in the other room.

What We Like:

Educational.
Inspires STEM interest.
Inexpensive.

Our Concerns:

Some necessary ingredients not included.
Has a finite number of activities.
More science than spying.
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12-Pack HeroFiber Invisible Ink Spy Pen + 12-Pack Mini TOP Secret Notepads

Best for Buying in Bulk

This simple set’s great for buying in bulk or for preparing a spy-themed birthday party where you need party favors. There are 12 invisible ink markers with LED lights and 12 mini “top secret” notebooks. Your child can write messages that no one can see until the light is shined over the ink.

What We Like

We love that this contains a dozen pens and notebooks for one low price.

Things to Consider

The notebooks are small, only 3.5″ x 2.5″, so they aren’t ideal for use by adults or older children/teens with large hands.

What We Like:

Several products for one price.
Pens include LED light.
Great party favors.

Our Concerns:

Very small.
Check Price On Amazon

If you’re looking for a single item, check out the Classified Top Secret SPY GEAR Journal instead. There’s no spy pen included, but you can always pick one up separately. Plus, if your child grows out of spying, he can still use the notebook.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to finding the best spy kits, dress-up clothes and individual pieces of spy equipment for your kids, there are tons of options out there to fit just about anyone’s budget.

The above-listed products can work for boys or girls in a wide variety of ages. Some are geared more towards role playing and just having fun, while others include some great STEM-related projects and activities that are as educational as they are fun.

Whichever ones you ultimately decide to buy are sure to make your little spies very happy indeed.

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