I loved secret codes when I was a kid. My friend and I worked out elaborate codes and sent notes back and forth. It was thrilling to send and receive a coded message that only my friend and I could understand. I felt very covert!
Do you live with wannabe secret agents, who need to send important top secret messages to each other? Would you like to have a special method of communication that only you and your kids can understand?
I have 4 secret codes for you to try with your kids.
Secret codes are great way to encourage writing and they also build your children’s abstract thinking skills.
And as a bonus it’s great way to build that parent/child relationship. YES!
4 secret codes that will impress your kids
- Book cipher.
This code uses a book as the key. The sender and recipient both have a copy of the same book. The sender writes down the location codes to help the recipients find specific words. You can find more information at Top Spy Secrets.
Tip: You will need a book that has a wide variety of words. Why not use two copies of a pocket dictionary.
2. Pig Pen Cipher
In “Pigpen” the 26 letters of the alphabet are placed in two grids or “pigpens.” Each letter is represented by the part of the “pigpen” that surrounds it. Hop over to Codes For Scouts to get the full scoop
To make things really easy there is even a free pigpen font you can download to write messages on your computer. Get it here.
Related: Looking for more simple activities to enjoy with your kids. Download these printable play activity cards.
Two D.I.Y. Decoders
Some codes require a top-secret decoder to send and receive secret messages. No one will be able to break your messages unless they have the decoder.
3. Secret Decoder Wheel
“Attention all secret agents! Your secret decoder wheel has arrived and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to send and receive secret messages to your friends without anyone being the wiser.” Jamey at Dabbles and Babbles
4. A simple code maker and breaker
Crayola has a very simple code maker and decoder that you can try. This might be easier for younger learners to use.
Have you ever seen kids trying invisible ink? I love watching their face light up when the words suddenly appear! It’s just like magic! Although invisible ink isn’t a secret code it is still fun to use! All you need is lemon juice and paper. Why not give it a try today? Here are the instructions.
Some ideas for using secret codes
- Try leaving secret code notes for for your kids in unexpected places –Write them on sticky notes and leave them on a drinking glass, water bottle, under a pillow, in a book, or on a swing.
- Use them to announce surprises, unexpected fun trips, or ice cream runs.
- If you have a bit more time you could set up a scavenger hunt. Write the clues in your code of choice. Have the last clue lead to a cool summer treat, a book full of puzzles and codes like The Maze of Bones, or a secret agent movie.
- Use a secret code in a special notebook with your child. Write coded notes of encouragement, telling jokes, or asking/answering questions!
Do you think your kids might like a chance to show off their secret agent skills? Would you like to have a special way of communicating that only you and your kids understand?
Looking for more information?
Try this book “Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing” by Paul Janeczko