When I was a kid there was a company called spy tech. Honestly for most of my childhood they were the coolest thing ever! They had periscopes, big ears… ok thats all I remember, but it was awesome! Now tech is sooo much better, and MUCH cheaper. With spy tools, chores become missions. Math becomes codebreaking. Your kid leaves you alone with you’re mimosa for hours.
Any camera is a great for natural science studies, go out in the woods and come back with pictures of plants, bugs and animals you can look up on the internets with them. “Mission” confirmations. “See mom, I did my chores.” And recording memories. There is something unique about a POV birthday party, people forget there is a camera and you really feel like you’re there.
You can have a spot where you exchange messages. Curled up in an old cologne bottle. Tucked into a book. Or you can go really crazy and make a fake outlet or light switch compartment. Or with this pen, you can exchange messages right out in the open. Write, “pick up milk” on a stick note in regular pen, and, “You’re mission, should you choose to accept it. Remove all DNA and incriminating evidence from the dishes from last nights gala. Send confirmation.” So the kid, washes the dishes and sends you a picture.
Invisible Ink Marking Pen & LED UV Light, Sharpie Type Marker and Flashlight
This book is widely considered the standard book of cryptography for kids. They have codes of differing difficulty. Exchanging messages, written in UV invisible ink, hidden in the toilet paper roll, written in code, will make your kid feel like a true spy… of course then you’ve got to write in code… the things we do for our kids, its worth it.
I spend a lot of time looking for a decent periscope, they were either over priced toy crap or over priced professional crap, either way, not my bag of tea… I drink coffee. Then I realized what I was trying to do, I just need a way to look around corners. Really a cellphone camera would work, so if you’ve got an old cellphone with a busted screen, put clear box tape over the glass and give it to your kid. Older smartphones are also really very cheap as well, you don’t need a sim card to use them like an iPod Touch so if you want to keep them off the internet, you can just not give them the WiFi password… your WiFi IS password protected right? Not password1234? Really I guessed it from across the internet?! Stop reading right now and go fix that! (Statistically someones going to have that password and then this will pay off, it will be hilarious! But I probably will never know, THATS what imagination is for.) Phew, I digress. Here is a list of cheap smartphones on eBay. Filter by your carrier with options on the left if you want to put cell service on it, most carriers have cheap pay-as-you-go options.
This toy kinda violates my principles… because it actually IS a crappy toy. The microphone is not in the right place for a parabolic mic, and there are SO MANY lost educational opprotunities there to discuss the focusing power of a parabola which easily transistions to physics, math, and many possible home-build projects. Can-tenna, solar heater, directional speakers, etc. BUT!!! I’ve always wanted one, the reviews on this are OK, it does work (if not as well as it would if they’d spent a half cent more on it) and it looks like a professional one.
Every spy needs a way to track their target. These tiny bluetooth locators are perfect. They’re cheap, they are multi-fuctional (you can use them to remotely trigger a cellphone camera) and you can put one on your little spy to make sure they don’t leave the back yard while you catch up on episodes of Bones. (See alternative below)
Now the Silvercell Tracer is some SUPER cheap made in china crap. The problem is the next option up is $15 and has reviews almost as bad. If you have the money for $25 you can get the undisputed king of bluetooth key (read kid) finders, the Tile. Comes with a non-rechargable/non-replaceable, 1-year, battery. Discounts if you buy 4 or more, you might need them encase the kid throws one in the passing truck of an evil war criminal bent on nuclear annihilation.
Tile (Gen 2) – Phone Finder. Key Finder. Item Finder – 1 Pack
Walkie-talkie?! This is 2000 effin 16 baby. (currently, right now, as I write this… its likely not as you read this so adjust date accordingly). This cheap little cellphone is perfect for a teen. Don’t want to pay for a cellphone bill, skype works fine within range of the wifi router. Don’t expect fast mobile data, you can expect dial up speed data on this phone, but for a kid with a data plan, that’s EXACTLY what you want to avoid unexpected overages.
While looking for a better bluetooth tracker I ran across this. I know cheap chinese tech can get absurdly cheap, but $25 for a smartwatch? The worse/best part is, this isn’t the cheapest one, if you don’t want the camera you can get one for $10, check the “also bought” catagory in the link below to delve into a plethora of rediculously cheap smartwatches. Most of them only work with Android and I have no idea how well its features work. I’ll see if I can find someone to review it for it’s kid spy (kid tracking) applications.
Padgene DZ09 Bluetooth Smart Watch with Camera for Samsung S5 / Note 2 / 3 / 4, Nexus 6, Htc, Sony and Other Android Smartphones, Gold
You don’t want to leave your spy out in the field without enough film! … eh… er… memory. WARNING REMINICING COMMENCING!!! I remember my first gigabyte hard drive, 1.6 gb, $100’s, cha-ching! The year before I saw my first flash memory in a catalog, 1gb, $999, but only the size of a stack a credit cards, sooo small!!! SOOO SPY!!! I thought. HAHAHAHAHA!
You don’t need anything fancy, but memory is so cheap you might as well go a little overkill. I can’t imaging your kid using more than 32gb of memory (thats what I thought with 1.6gb back in 1995), so unless you have a hot neighbor who has a habit of changing in front of windows, that should be more than enough. These are small enough to hide in the best of spy tradition.
Kingston Digital 16 GB Class 4 microSDHC Flash Card with SD Adapter (SDC4/16GBET)
(Remember: I’m not your kids parent, I can’t be held liable for anyway your use or misuse of this information. I can’t be held liable for how this information affects your kid, your dog, your, house flies or your shoelaces. I am not responsible for any offense you decide to feel in responce to reading this information. Live responsibly.)