18 Insanely Cool Spy Gadgets and Gear for Kids

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on September 16th, 2021
Kids spy gear and gadgets

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The kids were whispering…

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Spy Kids Academy,” they whispered. My kids were obsessed with Netflix’s “Spy Kids: Mission Critical,” a show aimed at wannabe spies, aged 8 upwards. My curiosity piqued, I checked it out before searching for the best spy gear for kids that would help my youngsters save the world, too.

Our top picks for the best spy gear & gadgets for kids

Editor’s choice

Our opinion

DBPOWER Predator (check price on Amazonis the equivalent of an adult drone including all the bells and whistles found on professional models. This high-def, wi-fi enabled drone features a 720p camera so that spies-in-training can shoot away for up to 18 minutes, thanks to its high-capacity batteries.

What we love
  • Think of this pricey pick as a status symbol. Your child’s cred will skyrocket while he has a blast operating his drone in “headless mode” and sleuthing out top secrets from on high.
Watch for

Upgrade choice

Our opinion

For the cost of a couple of fast food meals, delight your youngster with a pair of Spy Gear Night Goggles (check price on Amazonthat behave like real gear used by super spies.

Double magnification, blue-tinted lenses, LED lights, retractable scope, and adjustable head strap produce a quality-made product sure to thrill curious spies and spyettes.

What we love
  • No spy school education required to begin nighttime spying missions, thanks to this hands-free, head-mounted product. Could you awaken at night to find someone staring at you? That’s part of the fun!
Watch for
  • You could find yourself returning these goggles if you expect a high-quality infrared night vision product, so make sure you know this toy’s limitations before you buy.

Best budget buy

Our opinion

The MaleDen Ink Pen (check price on Amazon) is harmless and writes on a variety of surfaces including skin, t-shirts, and paper. Battery-driven, these pens provide more entertainment for the price than most in today’s toy market.

What we love
  • Who doesn’t want a secret agent pen that allows sleuths to write clandestine messages that become invisible until the cap’s light reveals them? Moms seeking party favors agree that these pens are great choices.
Watch for
  • Because this pen costs so little, parents may not bother to register dissatisfaction with the product, but those who do say that the cheap quality of plastic is a recipe for breakage.

Our fourth pick

Our opinion

SpyNet Ultra Vision Goggles (check price on Amazon) look formidable and are designed for enhanced daytime vision, though kids can also spot villains in complete darkness up to 50 feet away at night.

This cool-looking electronic toy captures video and photo “evidence,” is an affordable pick for kids 8+ and, while not included, these goggles run on 4 AA batteries.

What we love
  • Not your ordinary spyware, this product helps kids search for enemy agents in real time using ghostly or thermal vision filters, so they enjoy the hunt for enemies just like their favorite action super heroes.
Watch for
  • Kids preparing to be impressed by that 50-foot range in the dark may be disappointed. Keep the receipt just in case your child turns out to be one of them.

Our fifth pick

Our opinion

If your spy-in-training is ready for technology that transcends toys, Secret Mission Video Watch (check price on Amazon) could earn you loads of hugs. Kids record and play back videos, pictures, and audio—in fact, they can store up to 2000 photos. The price tag is steep but the look on your super spy’s face may be worth the expenditure.

What we love
  • Be careful what you say and do, Mom and Dad. In addition to 20 minutes of video capture, your 007 can record 4+ hours of audio. The reset button is Junior’s insurance that evidence won’t be lost.
Watch for
  • Enthusiasm for this product at introduction was high—until parents began reporting malfunctions that spoiled the fun for many kids. Caveat emptor.

Our sixth pick

Our opinion

A less expensive night vision (check price on Amazonoption designed for spies aged 6+, this stealthy product allows agents to peer into 30-feet of blackness using infrared technology to see if they’re being tailed. Only 3 AAA batteries are required to keep this spycraft tool operational.

What we love
  • This product flips between short and long vision modes so kids spot lurkers with nefarious intentions. A hands-free tool, this gear allows a child to carry a weapon or take notes during missions. Parents will appreciate the instruction guide and modest price point!
Watch for
  • The occasional child may experience focus issues and distortion problems, and your ninja may need a sturdier strap to keep these goggles in place.

Best kid’s spy kit

Our opinion

Kids’ eyes light up when they are handed kits filled with goodies, and this plastic Ninja Mission Set (check price on Amazonis ready for action. Designed for children aged 6+ who crave weird sound effects, he’ll adore the wrist blaster, motion alarm, night spy detector, and spy pen blaster, each an irresistible sensory experience.

What we love
  • Youngsters write and send secret messages via wrist dart, use the night spyer’s 2X magnification to spot trouble in the dark from 25 feet. A motion alarm sounds if they’re being followed, too!
Watch for
  • This set comes with a formidable price tag and eats batteries like crazy (AAA-not included; LR43-included) to stay operational.

Best for multiplayer

Our opinion

Codebreaking is a serious job for junior sleuths, and Spy Code Yulu Break Free (check price on Amazonnot only teaches kids over the age of 6 to pick locks (no judgments here) but encourages them to engage with other kids who are equally interested in mastering this art. Invite the neighbors to engage in a game that hosts up to four kids.

What we love
  • There are three levels of difficulty within 12 mazes that must be solved to become a proficient lock picker. In a universe of solitary spy toys, this one encourages strategizing and cooperation. No batteries required. We can see you doing a happy dance.
Watch for
  • The age range specified by the manufacturer is sketchy. If your child is precocious, he could easily game the system and get bored before this set shows much wear.

Our ninth pick

Our opinion

Have you ever seen anything cuter than a kid dressed in a mini-trench coat? Melissa & Doug Spy Role Play Costume Set (check price on Amazontakes dress-up to new heights and includes a jaunty hat, spy jacket, sunglasses, a spy guide, decoder lens, and coded message card.

Part of the Melissa & Doug Role Play collection, these pieces win top marks for authenticity.

What we love
  • Kids ages 5 to 8 slide into these costumes and lose themselves in role play, the value of which can’t be underestimated, say editors at “Child’s Play” magazine
Watch for
  • If this popular costume set has one thing going against it: it's that it may not fit little spies with weight issues...

Our tenth pick

Our opinion

Your wannabe spy may not care that MukikiM SpyX (check price on Amazon) won the honor of Creative Child Magazine Product of the Year in 2015, but you might. Kids receive lots of goodies: a micro listener, invisible ink pen, motion alarm and ear light, plus a utility belt so your James or Janet Bond can run missions hands-free.

What we love
  • Every skill a spy learns in spy school is represented in these tools so your son or daughter can protect his safe house (room), write secret messages, operate in the dark and listen in on top-secret conversations.
Watch for
  • Not every parent may be willing to encourage a child to listen in and record conversations. Despite this product’s sophistication you could experience quality control issues.

Best spy gear for girls

Our opinion

Spying is an equal-opportunity pastime for little girls with adventurous spirits and Project Mc2 Ultimate Spy Bag (check price on Amazon) is a big winner because it’s so unique. At first blush, this pink spy bag looks like a makeup trunk, but it’s actually a collection of 20+ spy tools, each cleverly designed to give spyettes an edge in the espionage game.

What we love
  • The makeup powder is fingerprint powder and the perfume bottle launches secret messages in disguised lipstick tubes. The chic spy bag is a branded toy inspired by Netflix’s Project Mc2 spy series.
Watch for
  • A lack of outer packaging, cheap plastic material and questions about value for money have been dogging this otherwise clever toy idea.

Our twelfth choice

Our opinion

Designed for kids 6+, the Mission Alpha Set (check price on Amazon) has fewer components than its closest competitor (#10 on this list) but essentials are all there: recording pen, motion alarm, night goggles and tactical mirror. Built-in LED lights and a zoom lens help your child undertake top-secret night missions.

What we love
  • Children geared up for reconnaissance will prize this Mission Alpha set. They can write secret messages, record audio, use their goggle zoom lens to spy on suspects and detect enemies lurking nearby.
Watch for
  • Despite a staggering price tag that usually means quality construction, materials used to manufacture components could disappoint. Plan to keep replacing 8 batteries to keep items functional.

Our thirteenth choice

Our opinion

Tell friends that your child is becoming a forensics expert at age 8 and get some respect! He trains without leaving home via fingerprinting cards (check price on Walmart), dusting powder, stamp pad, brush, and stickers for lifting fingerprints. A cool plastic case keeps everything contained.

What we love
  • If your child owns other 4M toys, this one is likely to be a hit because it’s a blast to use and is relatively inexpensive. That said, turnabout is fair play, parents - whenever you need to identify prints on the cookie jar!
Watch for
  • Cheaply-made components have left some parents and Scout leaders complaining that while the idea is great, it may not survive much use.

Best real spy gear for kids

Our opinion

For children who exhibit a real talent for sleuthing, this pricey audio wall probe may be just what CIA agents need to keep peace on the planet. The Spy Tec Highly Sensitive Audio Wall Probe (check price on Amazon) installs on any wall—cement, glass, brick, wood, iron, steel, or cement. Once mounted, audio amplification can be turned up to 20000x.

What we love
  • If you encourage your child to listen to confidential chatter, this probe is the perfect vehicle. Marketed as a device appropriate for consumers and professionals, this audio probe means business.
Watch for
  • There are cheaper alternatives to be had, but the question remains: Do you want your kids listening to you or their siblings surreptitiously?

Our fifteenth pick

Our opinion

Going undercover made easy! Spy Case Detective Gear Set (check price on Walmart) is inexpensive (in case your child’s interest in spying is short-lived) and it won a Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Products Award for children aged 8+. Everything a detective needs is confined to a durable case with batteries included.

What we love
  • Name a spy activity your youngster wants to try, and it’s in this kit: fingerprint powder and brush, binoculars, flashlight, magnifying glass, ink pad, marker pen set, code files, and top secret booklet to hide clues she would prefer not to broadcast until she solves the case.
Watch for
  • Your 8-year-old may grow bored with a toy best designed for a 5-year-old and some parents find some items in this gear set shoddy.

Best spy gadgets for kids

Our opinion

This navigation device (check price on eBay) delights kids eager to sleuth out any intrigue in the dark. Light tubes on elastic straps fasten to the back of the hand. An on-off switch triggers illumination and controls flash patterns. Once in place, your little one can explore every mysterious space simply by pointing a finger.

What we love
  • This hands-free rig gives children’s imaginations a boost as they explore dark places simply by extending a hand, at which point 4 LED light tubes illuminate the blackest environment.
Watch for
  • The only complaint registered by delighted parents revolves around battery replacement frequency. In fact, some parents recommend buying two to encourage nighttime reading habits!

Our seventeenth pick

Our opinion

When little brother’s listening device divulges secrets in big sister’s next door bedroom, a lockable diary (check price on eBaybecomes essential. The design emulates a safe, the diary measures 5.5 inches (W) x 6.25 inches (H) and 104 pages give an owner plenty of space to post secrets, draw, stow photos, and plot revenge.

What we love
  • Researchers say that journaling does more to help a child cope with stressors than any other vehicle (https://copingskillsforkids.com/blog/why-journaling-matters). This is a safe place to post fears, hopes and dreams. The lock and key keep those feelings secure.
Watch for
  • Recommended for kids ages 5 and up, it’s a more valuable aid for children ages 8+. The “password protected” claim is bogus; only the lock and key stand between secrets and nosy siblings.

Our eighteenth pick

Our opinion

This modestly-priced toy sports a warning alarm that goes off when a double agent penetrates a kid’s mission headquarters. This product (check price on Sears) is sensor-based, tiny and unobtrusive, but the sound is jarring enough to do the job, provided the 2 AAA batteries are charged.

What we love
  • When kids need to protect their valuables, this nicely camouflaged toy does the job for spy masters over the age of 6. Figuring out where to position this tiny detector may be challenging, but once in place, it’s ready to warn them of danger—unless the cat sets it off!
Watch for
  • This product may need an engineering fix say parents returning it because the alarm didn’t work, and in some cases, sounded more like a chirping bird than a warning sound.

Our top pick is…

If you’re confident that your youngster’s passion for spycraft is keen, then there’s plenty to choose from on our list (a few of which you may want to play with yourself!)

Our first recommendation for the 6+ crowd is the Spy Gear Ultimate Ninja Night Vision (check price on Amazon) because it’s a solid product with few flaws at an affordable price.

The ability to see up to 30 feet in darkness is ideal for night missions, the infrared technology is solid, and kids have a blast spotting suspicious moves.

Next up, creativity kudos go to Melissa and Doug, the company making a roleplay set that’s truly unique (check price on Amazon). Dress up remains one of the few activities 21st Century kids enjoy that doesn’t require technological advances.

Each element is adorable, from the fashion-forward trench to stylish hat, so your 5 to 8-year-old will find plenty of reason to dress up with this ensemble hanging in his closet.

That stated, our top pick is #16, the SpyX Lite Hand Dark Navigation Device (check price on Amazon) which we’ve chosen as Best Spy Gadgets for Kids.

Cleverly designed to be both functional and fun, parents would be hard-pressed to match this product, and its features are diverse enough to entertain and intrigue kids normally blasé about most toys on today’s market.

We love the fact that some of these navigation devices are being snapped up by parents to encourage their children’s interest in reading!

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Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on September 16th, 2021
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