Detective, secret agent and spy themes can capture children’s imaginations. They work well for birthday parties, and they’re also often used in educational curriculum. Any good detective needs an identification badge. You can easily make a badge to fit your needs, whether children will use them for a few hours during a party or a few weeks during a unit of study.
Decide how you want the badge to look, and then design it on your computer or simply draw it freehand. You can design the badge as a standard rectangle, or you can use a star or shield shape. Check your computer’s shape and clipart libraries for designs. If using a computer, duplicate the shape as many times as you can on one sheet of paper and print as many sheets as you need. If you drew your design freehand, cut it out and use it as a stencil to trace more shapes. Regardless, use sturdy card stock or construction paper.
As you design the badge, leave room for a photo and thumbprint of the child. At the top of the badge, write the “agency name,” which can be the name of your school or the “mission name,” which can be the title of the task the kids are completing. Create fields where children can handwrite their personal information, such as the agent’s name, alias, age, specialties and languages. If children will be assigned a list of tasks to complete, write those on the back of the badge where they can be checked off later.
Take each child’s picture wearing a trench coat, detective hat and sunglasses. You can even give children a magnifying glass to hold. Tell them to wear a serious expression. Press each child’s thumb onto an inkpad or color thumbs with washable markers. Then have children press their thumbprint onto the badge. If you don’t have room for both a thumbprint and a photo, use light-colored ink and make the child’s thumbprint a watermark behind the written information. Give children pens or pencils and let them fill in their stats.
Laminate the badges to give them an authentic look. Use a laminating machine or contact paper. You can also cover the badges with a layer of clear packing tape on the front and back for quick faux-lamination. Punch two holes on either side of the badge and attach string to make a lanyard. If you aren’t using the back of the badge, affix a pin backing so children can wear the badges anywhere on their clothing.
Michelle Watson has been an editor and freelance writer since 2010. She has edited hospital magazines around the United States and written on a variety of health-care topics. Watson is also a licensed high school English teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a teaching credential.