Secret Codes – Activities for Children

We’ve been talking about codes and secret writing at home with my nine year old. It was part of her homework and we started looking for other activities we could do.

It’s no surprise that Pinterest has some great resources, here are some of our favourite finds.

A very simple to create activity with a tube and strips of paper . Tutorial here. Based on the Egyptian method scytales. Scytales consisted of two parts—a cylinder and a strip of parchment with letters on it.  You could do it on a much smaller scale with a pencil.

The next one we looked at is a basic reverse alphabet method. Substituting one letter for it’s alternative when the alphabet is written backwards. Great to get children to try and write out the alphabet backwards before being able to crack the code.

I enjoyed getting her to decipher some great phrases, such as ‘TIDY YOUR ROOM’ and ‘DO YOUR HOMEWORK’, we did have some that didn’t make her groan too: ‘PADDLING POOL TIME’ and ‘SHOW ME YOUR TRAMPOLINE TRICKS’.

From the same source was a more advanced code called Pig Pen which I haven’t heard of before. It is based on the shape of the lines surrounding the letters. Take a look at the more in-depth instructions on

If you are looking for a way to make maths practice more fun then there is a great resource here


Click image for source

There are more ideas on my Secret Code Activities Pinterest Board

Do you have any favourite code breaking methods you play with the children?

My name is Cara and I also blog at



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