What would the 6 year old version of yourself put in your utility belt?
September 14, 2009 6:11 PM   Subscribe

I want to make my son a kick-ass utility belt for Christmas. Please suggest me some awesome things to fill it with!

I was in the basement working on a computer at my bench, when I noticed a old gameboy game case that looks almost exactly like a pouch on a super heroes utility belt. I think I also have several more similar cases laying around. So the idea struck me, that I would like to make my son a utility belt filled with awesome gadgets for his dress up and playing. My son is a costume / superhero fanatic, so this will be right up his alley. I'll probably pick up a tool belt for the belt portion, and then mod the pouches to fit it.

So, please suggest some cool things I can put in it.
- yes, I already read the wikipedia article on batman's utility belt.
- I would like to keep the entire project under 100 dollars.
- He is 6 years old.
- Functional and cool would be best, but non-functional imagination inspiring stuff would rock too! Just generally things he can have lots of adventures with!

Otherwise, I am really up for just about any ideas!
posted by JonnyRotten to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (50 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
A small flashlight for fighting crime at night! Or just for looking at things in the night. For imagination's sake, it could also function as a decoder, lightsaber, demon fryer, etc.
posted by cobwebberies at 6:24 PM on September 14, 2009

It's not quite as awesome as the giant orange-cased Fisher-Price compass I had as a kid, but what about some sort of compass? I'd throw in a canteen, too, and a flashlight or headlamp (I was and still am unhealthily obsessed with flashlights).

If you can tolerate a whistle, there's that, too, and an unbreakable mirror for signaling/ checking folks for vampirism. Cool goggles may be a bonus, and big silly rubber gloves for leaving the evidence print-free.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:28 PM on September 14, 2009

A strong flashlight.
A nerf gun.
A walkie talkie set (do kids still play with those?)
A tennis ball.
And...I'm thinking...
posted by lucy.jakobs at 6:28 PM on September 14, 2009

Pez dispenser.
posted by cog_nate at 6:30 PM on September 14, 2009

a case for cool sunglasses

some light-weight rope

a snack pouch (even superheroes must eat)

fake ninja stars

and, for what it's worth, I always had a pouch for my inhaler as well. yeah, I was an awesome superhero.
posted by Think_Long at 6:31 PM on September 14, 2009

Seconding the binoculars suggestion. Or a mini telescope. You never know when villains are lurking off in the distance.

If you have any old cell phones lying around, especially if they're the flip-top kind, they could make great communicators for checking in to headquarters.
posted by cobwebberies at 6:31 PM on September 14, 2009

- cheap pen-style laser pointer
- parachute cord
- ping-pong ball bolo

There's a bunch of junky"spy gear" stuff that's pretty entertaining and cheap- night vision goggles, invisible ink pens, motion alarms, voice transponders, etc.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:34 PM on September 14, 2009

a can of silly string (or two)
an ear mounted flash light
some velcro straps, like those used for keeping your computer cables neat
a walkie-talkie set
posted by onhazier at 6:35 PM on September 14, 2009

As for Nerf guns, there is no finer "HA HA HA I HAS A GIANT NERF PISTOL" Nerf gun than the Maverick, especially if you later plan to introduce your kid to Hellboy Animated.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:35 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

magnifying glass.
posted by carterk at 6:37 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ooooo Any suggestions for some cool looking goggles? That would go with it perfectly!

He really likes to create his own superheroes.

Here is one of his many superhero personas.
posted by JonnyRotten at 6:37 PM on September 14, 2009

How about a spent wrapping paper ribbon spool, a long piece of string and a rubber ball of the gumball machine variety. You drill/poke a hole through the ball, run the string through there and tie it off, and attach the other end of the string to the spool. You could then wind the string around the spool and stick the whole thing in a pouch. When he want, he can pull it out, unwind the string, and then he's got a weighted string he can throw at things without damaging anything in the house. He can also throw it to wrap around stuff like railings and rafters and poles, just because it's fund for a 6 year old to do something like that. Alternately you could do a rubber ball bolo with another ball and shorter string.

On that same note, one of the pouches could just hold a handful of said rubber balls for throwing (with dad hanging onto some spares for when he loses some)

I think a squirtgun/dartgun holster is a must.

A mini walkie talkie, even if a toy, even if non functional, seems like a must.

A simple strap loop could make a great mini maglite holder.

Several of those loops could be glowstick holders.

A cheapo set of mini plastic binoculars would be great for pretend, or a mini plastic telescope.

I had a plastic toy swiss army knife toy as a kid, which was great.

A round holster for a can of Silly String would be awesome, but of course means a bit of mess.

A bandolier for matchbox cars or action figures or nerfy projectiles could be a fun accompaniment for the belt.

He should totally have a cool pair of swim goggles with colored or mirrored lenses to wear with all of this. Maybe even ski goggles if they're on sale.

Little knee and elbow pads like for rollerblading would help with that feeling of having a uniform and being invincible. Very cheap in tot sizes.

A fun helmet and cape would be great too. You could glue a springy thing on top as an antenna, capped with a bright yellow nerf golfball.

On preview some duplicates. Love the ear mounted LED light and magnifying glass.

Man, I want one now!
posted by Askr at 6:39 PM on September 14, 2009

How about these kind of goggles that have little holograms in the lenses?

Otherwise some juniors' ski goggles with a neat lens color.
posted by Askr at 6:45 PM on September 14, 2009

excellent idea!

little loops for backup glow sticks
magnifying glass (or card)
solar power calculator
a pouch for carrying his favorite action figure(s)
& no power-belt would be complete w/o a yo-yo holster
posted by at the crossroads at 6:45 PM on September 14, 2009

The best part of a utility belt is the grappling hook. Luke had one. Batman had one. James Bond, etc. I used to fold those big butterfly paper clips into totally awesome and SERIOUSLY OMG DANGEROUS grappling hooks with which to climb jungle gyms. A (maybe) safe alternative might be a Neodymium magnet encased in a small padded sack tied to some twine. You can throw it and it'll stick to a railing/whatever but if it were padded and nerf-ified enough it might not be dangerous as a bolo (as it will undergo projectile testing at some point). No idea if that's age-appropriateor feasible but non-wimpy magnets would be fun.
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:45 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

They sell grappling hooks on Amazon!
posted by jeb at 6:47 PM on September 14, 2009

Reflective emergency blankets in case he needs to go into hibernation or fend off enemy energy weapons.
posted by contraption at 6:49 PM on September 14, 2009

Some more accessories:

Batman gauntlet gloves. Only $10!

A mask is always awesome. (same store)

Captain America shield would be a thing of joy for years. $15
posted by Askr at 6:51 PM on September 14, 2009

Foam disc shooter.

Holy crap, Nerf sword!

This is so fun.
posted by Askr at 6:56 PM on September 14, 2009

Definitely a compass
And some magnets
Small wind-up torch (flashlight)

Oh -and a space to put some sweets/candy... essential!
posted by mattr at 7:02 PM on September 14, 2009

yes yes flashlight and binoculars -- or better yet, a child's pocket monocular; also:
=>check out Edmunds Scientific, for interesting ideas like their pocket microscope/telescope;
=>they also have a spy scope periscope for around corners (but this might be too big for the belt);
=>a handful of finger lights;
=>Invisible Writer Ink Pen -- or better yet, two, so that he can share with a friend;
=>a couple of tootsie roll pops, or other "stick" treats, stuck in tool slots on the belt;
=>a whole bunch of carabiner clips and/or key rings;
=>real, small, rounded-tip grown-up pliers...
posted by Bet Glenn at 7:11 PM on September 14, 2009

In lieu of ninja throwing stars: a deck of playing cards? Maybe a climbing carabiner or two and a coil of rope or nylon webbing.
posted by ctmf at 7:13 PM on September 14, 2009

Tiny remote control car. $10
posted by Askr at 7:18 PM on September 14, 2009

Some of my favorite memories are of playing spy games when I was 6 or 7 years old; I gave up on handing out favorites in this thread when I realized that there weren't going to be any replies that wouldn't get one.

Only a couple things that I haven't seen mentioned:

Pen and notepad - invisible ink is a slight plus, but being able to write down secret plans, make treasure maps, etc. is what's critical.

Candy can go in the snack pouch, but soldiers don't eat candy, they eat "rations". Anything in bar form (ranging from Nutrigrain to snack bars that are practically candy) will suit.

Water! It was an old massive stainless steel canteen for me; in hindsight something less bulky would have been better.
posted by roystgnr at 7:23 PM on September 14, 2009

I used to have that Edmunds Scientific telescope/microscope as a kid! It was radical!
posted by contraption at 7:24 PM on September 14, 2009

Magnet on a stick.
Same page: grabber-thingie.
I'd sew some toggle switches onto the belt, he'll figure out what evils they do.
Pirate bandaids.
One of those handshake buzzers.
Silly Putty.
Tape measure.
Vice grips.
Different colors of electrical tape.

I'm really jealous of your kid.
posted by 8dot3 at 7:27 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Suction cup throwing stars
posted by Askr at 7:27 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Tons of WIN so far guys! keep em coming.
For anyone looking for cook invisible ink, my sister gave him a pen, somewhat like this at one point:
It's pretty badassed, because it has a mini black light built in that reveals the writing.
posted by JonnyRotten at 7:28 PM on September 14, 2009

I like 8dot3's toggle switch suggestion, but maybe add a big red button instead or in addition.
posted by contraption at 7:34 PM on September 14, 2009

Response by poster: I'm really jealous of your kid.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:27 PM on September 14

Bah! It's all part of being the worlds best dad. No sweat!
Here are a few other jealousy inducing pictures to inspire other worlds best parents:
Check out the foam weapons I made for all the kids to use at the family events:
Mighty Dwarven Axe
Melee Clash
To the death!
My daughter with a hand hammer.
And two bonus pictures with my son dramatically posing with his favorite double bladed sword.

I'll tell you what, 30 bucks of PVC, Pool Noodles and Duct tape has provide so much fun for adults and kids at pretty much every event out at my in-laws house. Everyone should make these if they have events with lots of kids!
posted by JonnyRotten at 7:36 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ooh, additional use for pool noodles: lightsabers!
posted by 8dot3 at 7:41 PM on September 14, 2009

JonnyRotten, you're like a one-man Nerf factory already! Those are some awesome foamy weapons.
posted by cobwebberies at 7:43 PM on September 14, 2009

Also, a telescoping mirrors (per jeanmari) can he used under closed doors to see what's on the other side.

I really am going to be thinking of ideas for this question all week. Thank god we have until Christmas to perfect it!
posted by 8dot3 at 7:47 PM on September 14, 2009

I'm trying to remember our field supply kit from the detective agency we ran out of the potting shed. Most of the items have been identified already: flashlight, magnifying glass, etc.

All I can think to add to the list is a cricket cage, for bringing home interesting bugs to put in your sister's hair, and a kaleidoscope, because kaleidoscopes are cool. Oh and marbles, for strewing into the path of your advancing enemies.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:54 PM on September 14, 2009

Ohhh my god I'm gonna die. Spy listener toy with earbud. Mounted on cool sunglasses.

The make-believe potential of all of this is absolutely wonderful. Seriously he'll remember it forever.
posted by Askr at 7:57 PM on September 14, 2009

Response by poster: Man, those grappling hooks on amazon are awesome. I'm trying to think how to make a slightly safer version. Maybe something fold-able so it will conceal better.

So many awesome ideas so far!
posted by JonnyRotten at 8:02 PM on September 14, 2009

grappling hook nerfed:
maybe you could break apart and work up one of those hooliedoo expanding ball thingies.
posted by at the crossroads at 8:12 PM on September 14, 2009

Response by poster: Oh man! that magnetic wrist band would be a sweet way to have different wrist accessories he could slap on. just put a thin metal plate in the accessory (even something simple like a couple pieces of cardboard with the metal between and a communicator drawn on it).

I really like the ping pong bolo idea too. Maybe add a bit of weight to it with some BBs and some hot glue squirted in to keep it all together.

Hmmm. Maybe the grappling hook could be some threaded PVC so the hooks detach from the main shaft, or fold down some way.
posted by JonnyRotten at 8:25 PM on September 14, 2009

My child is about your son's age and put together this utility belt: small retractable measuring tape, led flashlight (the $1 keyring kind), and penknife.
posted by zippy at 8:43 PM on September 14, 2009

p-noodle wrapped nunchaku
with glow sticks taped on 'em
for dusk.

(make the chain links over-sized with duct tape folded over on itself)
posted by at the crossroads at 10:19 PM on September 14, 2009

Johnny---man, that's so cool. You win the prize for coolest dad on Metafilter this week. Wish there were more dads willing to just be silly and play with their kids.

The only wee thing I might suggest you use for a belt would be a military surplus web-gear belt, the green/tan/black ones with the grommets along the whole width. They're pretty cheap and then items can be quickly added/removed from said belt depending on the emergency at hand.

I mean, rescuing ladies and kittens from a burning apartment building does not require the same tools as capturing bank robbers.
posted by TomMelee at 6:22 AM on September 15, 2009

I think the grappling hook could be compactable if you figure a way to wire them together so they do this:
Get 4 J hooks, one of them with a loop on the end. Wire them together so that they, when unfolded, are at 90 degrees to each other with the hooks facing outward, so one hook is in each direction and they resemble a normal grappling hook. When folded down, they all lie flat on each other, and can be put in a pocket in the toolbelt. The loop at the bottom of the one is so that you can thread rope through it.
posted by 8dot3 at 6:30 AM on September 15, 2009

Cheap, used Palm Zire with tricorder freeware.
posted by mecran01 at 6:48 AM on September 15, 2009

Here's my list:

- small LED flashlight
- small multitool, bladed if you think he can handle it, but I think that there are some airport-safe bladeless tools out there
- notepad with invisible ink pen or space pen
- magnifying glass
- "specimen/evidence bags" (i.e. Baggies) and tweezers
- first aid kit, can be completely DIY (cool kids' band-aids and sterile wipes for minor scrapes and cuts)
- pocket measuring tape
- pedometer to measure how far he's gone in the day's travels/investigations/patrols
- if there's still room in the budget, a cheap digital camera

I carry most of the above around with me at all times; the SwissCard covers a lot.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:00 AM on September 15, 2009

This may be a great idea or a horrible one but you can give him "Sound Bombs." Take a film canister, fill it halfway with water. When he is ready to use it, pop in an alka seltzer and throw it afar. Wait for the *POP*.

That being said if he is younger than 6 it's probably not a good idea.
posted by saxamo at 4:51 PM on September 15, 2009

is 6 too young for those Pop-it fireworks? (bottom of this picture)

His imagination could make them smoke bombs, flashbangs, etc.
posted by cmchap at 6:46 AM on September 16, 2009

Response by poster: Here is my concept for Jacob's Utility Belt Mark 1

As of right now, I am considering making all the pouches, except for the holster attach to the belt via neodymium magnets. So they can be re-arranged on the fly. Also so they can be stuck to metal things for easy access while doing stuff.

I need to get some measurements still, so I think I'm being a bit conservative on how many pouches will fit. I bet I will be able to get one more large pouch, if not a large and a medium one on there still. The load out right now is nowhere near final, just some of the stuff that jumped out at me while reading the thread.

thank you guys for all the great suggestions so far!!!
posted by JonnyRotten at 9:18 PM on September 16, 2009

Most Excellent. Would be pretty kickass to integrate some silly MF logo on there somewhere.

Just wanted to suggest that you post your setup there to instructables or someplace so that other kids can experience the awesomeness.
posted by TomMelee at 5:24 AM on September 17, 2009

If you're going to have a holster and rubber bands then there really is no excuse NOT to have a rubber band gun.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:41 AM on September 18, 2009

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