A true detective knows how to fingerprint a crime scene. What better way to spend a rainy day than learning how to fingerprint while solving a crime at the same time? What you’ll be doing is lifting a set of fingerprints off of a suspect’s glass and then comparing the prints to all the fingerprint sets you collect from your group. When you find a match, you’ve nailed your suspect! (Note: This activity is ideal for kids ages 8 and up, but younger children love to participate with the older kids as long as they have a little help.)
You’ll need a few basic supplies to get started:
- Glass jars or drinking glasses
- Talcum powder
- White paper or note cards
- Ink pad
- Makeup brush or paint brush
- Black construction paper or poster board.
- One set of latex or medical gloves (not necessary, but it will make things a bit easier.)
- Hair spray (to make better fingerprints)
PART ONE: Find the Suspect
- To prepare the glasses, wash them in the dishwasher. Remove them from the dishwasher while either wearing gloves or by holding a towel. The professionals do this to make sure that they don’t contaminate the evidence with their own prints.
- Line the glasses up on the counter, making sure there is one for each person participating in this challenge.
- Have each person spray his or her fingers with hairspray (if available). This will make sure that there is a good set of fingerprints left on the glass. While their fingers are still sticky from the hairspray, have them wrap their hands around the glass as though picking it up to take a drink. Make sure to touch the glass only one time, in one spot, so there is only ONE set of prints on each glass. Repeat the same process for all participants.
- Have one player (or mom or dad) become the “Evidence Inspector”. That person is in charge of the evidence from now on. The Evidence Inspector has to kick everyone else from the room. When they are gone, the evidence inspector needs to carefully mix up the glasses so they are in random order. To do this WITHOUT contaminating the evidence, the Evidence Inspector needs to put on gloves, or wrap their hand in a towel. They can move the glasses around and mix them up by putting their covered hand inside of each glass and dragging it around the table.
- After the glasses are all mixed up. The Evidence Inspector will call everyone back into the room. The group needs to pick one of the glasses to be the suspect’s glass. Make sure NO one but the Evidence Inspector touches the glass from now on.
PART TWO: Fingerprinting Suspects
- Now it is time to fingerprint all the potential suspects at the crime scene. (This is everyone who left his or her fingerprints on a glass.)
- Make sure you take fingerprints from the same hand that the suspect used to make the fingerprints on the glass. Taking fingerprints is easy: Place each fingertip on the inkpad so they are covered in ink. The press each fingertip firmly onto a blank piece of white paper or an index card. Have each person write his or her name on the back of their fingerprint card. Wash your hands when you are done!
PART THREE: Gathering Evidence
- Now for the fun part. It’s time to lift the fingerprints from the glass you have determined is the suspect’s glass. Using a makeup brush or small paintbrush, dip the brush in the talcum powder. Gently dust the fingerprints on the glass with the talcum powder until you see a visible set of prints. Gently blow away any excess powder.
- Apply a piece of tape to the dusted fingerprint. Stick the tape on the black construction paper or poster board.
PART FOUR: Arrest the Criminal
- Using your fingerprint cards from all of the potential suspects, compare the prints. When you have a match, you can use this evidence to arrest your suspect!
Now that you know how to be a spy, there are a lot of mysteries out there waiting to be solved. The Big Book of Spy Stuff is a great place to start. It will teach you all the tricks that the best spies and detectives know and use. The Micro Spy Kit will give you the perfect set of spy tools to make sure that no clue goes undetected. The motion detector alarm it contains is a must have for any serious spy. And if you want the ultimate spy tool, then a good pair of night vision binoculars is a must. The SpyNet Night Vision Binoculars give you the ultimate advantage.