Posted: Aug 02 2015
Fingerprints are the perfect example to illustrate to children how unique we all are, just like snowflakes. Providing real life examples of how this can be useful to help them to understand just how unique fingerprints are. For example, ID cards for children in case they’re lost, or perhaps if they need security clearance; the world now has special machines that check and match fingerprints for security access. Many police departments and other authorities use fingerprints to identify criminals or find missing persons and keep a record of them in a large database that can match prints. These fun activities will help your children learn all about fingerprints and how they’re collected and identified.
To collect fingerprints you’ll need just a few items which you probably already have in your home.
- Talcum powder
- Blusher Brush
- Clear Sellotape
- Note / Index Cards
- Ink Pad
- Black Paper
- Magnifying Glass
First take fingerprints of everyone taking part in the games. Using the ink pad you can take everyone’s print and place it on an index card with their information e.g. name, height, weight, age, address etc. Maybe even place their picture at the top left of the card to make it feel even more authentic. Explain that the patterns are unique; that no two fingerprints are the same, which makes them perfect for identification.
To collect the fingerprints dip your brush into the talcum powder and lightly dust the fingerprint. When you have a visible print, place clear tape over the print and gently press it to get an impression. Place the tape on a piece of black paper and label it, especially if you’re taking more than one.
Note: Make sure that when you leave fingerprints it’s on a hard surface like glass or wood for this purpose. Paper or cardboard will be too difficult.
Match the Print Drinking glasses are a perfect use for collecting fingerprints in this activity. Once you’ve taken the family’s fingerprints on the index cards, give everyone a glass of water to drink, ensuring they leave their prints on them. Make sure you use gloves when handling the glasses so there’s only one set of fingerprints, and be careful not to smudge the prints by touching them directly. Line up the glasses, mix them up a bit so no one knows whose fingerprints belong to whom, and place a label (post-it note) in front of each glass, like “Person A.”Collect the fingerprints as noted above, labelling each one (person A’s fingerprint) and have your child match the print with the family member.
Crime Scene In this activity, you can demonstrate how detectives collect fingerprints and use them to identify people. Set up a “crime”scene, for example missing cookies. You can have a glass of milk with the criminal’s fingerprints on them and the cookie crumbs on a plate for evidence of the stolen cookies. You can create fake profile folders of various suspects filled with past crimes. If you’re handy with a camera, you can also make “mug”shots too. Collect the fingerprints as noted above using the same procedure.
Agent “X”Create a spy profile named Agent X. In the folder you can leave files of past unsolved crimes committed by the mysterious Agent X. There’s no picture because Agent X uses many different disguises, but there is a set of fingerprints (ask a neighbour or friend to participate), the only thing to identify that he/she has been at the scene of the crime. Put together a fake crime scene such as a stolen masterpiece (a picture off the wall) or missing files containing valuable information from your desk. Dust for fingerprints and discover Agent X is behind this caper.
Mystery Lunch Just like Mystery Dinners, you can create a mystery lunch with a fake crime, like a missing item (costume jewellery, a vase etc.). Use your imagination to create character sheets for older kids, with the younger kids just let them play themselves. You can assign one to play the thief, a detective to gather information and interview witnesses, and one to collect the fingerprints on the “crime”scene and all “suspects.”This game can be as simple or as elaborate as their age allows, all it takes is your creativity.