During the summer break, we planned a spy activity day to keep some of the younger Steamship crew occupied. The idea was to give them several challenges to complete leading up to one big final challenge to complete the quest. The challenges were all different, some were activity based and others were taxing brain challenges, so it was important for the children to work as a team to draw on their individual strengths for each task. To bring the challenges to life, we created a story with an Egyptian theme, this is usually a popular topic and offers lots of visual imagery and ideas. This narrative made the day more exciting and added a sense of purpose to the challenges.

The children were supplied with spy notebooks, and we strongly hinted to them to make sure they made notes of everything they discovered, (it was important that they should note all the symbols they collected in order to complete the final task). Then we handed them a scroll which had their Quest printed on it, but to make things a bit more challenging from the start the writing was upside down and backwards, so they would need to work out a way to read it!

The Quest

The Egyptain Pharoah’s cat has been stolen, can you solve the mystery and rescue the cat before the Pharaoh catches up with you!

You must complete several challenges, each time you complete a challenge you will receive a gold coin with a symbol, these are will be important to complete the quest. Use your spy books to make notes of anything you think is important along the way.

Challenge 1

Can you knock down the ruined tower to discover the first missing coin?

A fairly simple challenge to start off, the children hadn’t seen the coins they needed to collect yet, so the first one was hidden inside one of the cups.

Challenge 2

The coin is at the other side of the room, but the floor is covered in poisonous snakes – how can you get to the coin without touching the floor?

We made sure there was a pile of loose materials at the start of the room, and left it to the children to puzzle out how to get across without touching the floor.

Challenge 3

Can you cross through the laser beams without touching them to reach the coin on the other side?

A simple game but always so much fun, trying to climb through the laser beams (paper streamers!) without touching them.

Challenge 4

Something’s not right here, can you spot the objects that don’t belong in the room, they all have a letter than will help you find the location of the coin.

This challenge was a traditional treasure hunt with a twist, there were several egyptian objects hidden in the room and each held a letter which would spell out the location of the coin. But to make it extra tricky, the children weren’t told how many objects there were to find.

Challenge 5

There’s a message on the wall – it says Read Between the lines. What does that mean?

The old invisible ink trick, the children had to uncover the real message to find the coin.

Challenge 6

The map shows that you need to go up the stairs next but the sign says close, how can you change it so you can pass?

A simple puzzle, but quite tricky to figure out, funnily enough it was our youngest team member that solved this one.

Challenge 7

There’s no sign of a coin here, but there are some loose materials to build something, will it help you to find the last coin?

The coin was hidden just outside the window and the children had to build a periscope out of the loose materials in order to be able to look around and find it.

Challenge 8

Not you need to use all the coins you collected to decipher the cryptex, hopefully this will lead you to the missing cat!

This is where all their previous discoveries would be needed. If they didn’t have all the symbols from the previous challenges then they wouldn’t be able to open the crypt.

Final challenge

You’ve found a box but it is locked, you just need to find the keys to free the cat!

One final challenge, another treasure hunt to find all the keys, just to add to the tension, we hid a few other keys as well that were useless on these locks!

Overall the day was a big success, it took a couple of hours for them to complete all the challenges and afterwards they spend the rest of the day setting challenges for each other to complete.

To carry on with the spy theme through the day, we also collected up a few of our favourite games and books which the children could play with.