Spy kids!
November 7, 2019 11:23 PM   Subscribe

What's a good Christmas present to give a 7 year old who's getting into spy and detective stuff?

My 7yo niece seems to be really getting into spy/detective stuff. Her birthday recently involved solving clues using a book with various ciphers to find presents, and she recently even set up something similar for her parents to find.

I'd like to give her something along those lines for Christmas, especially since I was also really into spy/detective stuff at that age. I do have ideas for books (eg Nancy Drew) but I'd love to get her something interactive - she's pretty artsy and crafty and also loves science experiments. Something experiential could be cool - she goes to that one science museum in Bristol (I forget the name) pretty often but I'm not sure if the family are escape room types. As far as I know they don't have any game consoles in the house and I don't think her parents would be into letting her play computer games, but board/card/ttrpg games could work.

She's in the UK and I'm in Australia, so preferably something I can get from the UK and delivered to her directly would be fab. I do want to craft a puzzle or two for her as part of this present, so if the sender is ok with custom messages that'd work!
posted by divabat to Shopping (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I had this book at about her age, and loved it. It's got practical things she can do to improve her tradecraft and opsec.
posted by quinndexter at 12:48 AM on November 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you have a Flying Tiger near you, they currently have fingerprint kits and that's what I'm getting my niece. They also have them on Amazon, as well as crime scene tape, magnifying glasses, etc.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:28 AM on November 8, 2019

Those books quinndexter recommended was going to be my recommendation as well. The ones I have were all small size booklets on different spy/detective topics and probably helped lead me to my current job of Forensic Scientist.
posted by Captain_Science at 2:43 AM on November 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

I loved the walkie talkies I received for Christmas at that age. And the ones you can get today are a million times better than the terrible things we had in the '70s. They're highly useful when you're 'investigating' with your friends.
posted by pipeski at 3:32 AM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

How about something like a pocket periscope?
posted by saladin at 3:56 AM on November 8, 2019

My fave book as a kid was Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 4:38 AM on November 8, 2019 [6 favorites]

Thirding the Usborne books. I still have my copies of what I believe are older editions of these two books:
- The official detectives handbook
- The official spy handbook
posted by girlpublisher at 4:46 AM on November 8, 2019

A set of invisible ink spy pens with included UV light might be fun for her secret messages.
posted by DB Cooper at 4:49 AM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

If the kiddo in question has siblings or neighbor friends -- walkie talkies
posted by nuclear_soup at 8:07 AM on November 8, 2019

The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base is stunning. It’s an interactive, beautifully illustrated book where the reader is encouraged to decode messages from a variety of formats to solve a mystery. Not sure if it is either too advanced or too young for this particular 7 year old.
posted by Night_owl at 10:34 AM on November 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

In addition to whatever gift you choose, you could both create crypto key pairs and learn how to use PGP / GPG so you can exchange encrypted messages. Probably the novelty will wear off after a short time but while it lasts you have an excuse to send more messages.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:07 AM on November 8, 2019

I came in to recommend the Usborne books too. I think they'd be ideal for a seven-year-old.

A periscope kit?
posted by paduasoy at 11:44 PM on November 8, 2019

I got her the Usborne Spy book, The Eleventh Hour, and some invisible ink pens. Turns out she's got more ink pens than she needs for a lifetime so her mum's gonna let her share with friends!

She apparently can't get enough of mystery solving so I introduced geo-caching to them and they're gonna go on some mystery tours! So this will be a good list for future reference anyway.

Thank you!
posted by divabat at 2:05 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

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