“What’s mouse code?” my seven year old asked.
It took me a little while to figure out that he meant ‘morse code’ rather than ‘mouse code’, but from that moment on he was in love with everything about secret codes!
The idea of being able to read and write in a secret code, or better yet, create your own secret code that no one else knows, is magical! Imagine being able to write notes to each other that no one else can read!
It didn’t take long for my kids to lose themselves in learning, deciphering and creating their own secret codes.
We started out with mouse… I mean morse code because my 7 year old had read about it in a Horrible HIstories book (affiliate link).
Morse code uses dots, dashes and spaces to represent letters numbers and symbols. You can write morse code, or send it with flashes of light or sounds. Once a prisoner of war even sent a message in morse code by blinking his eyes!
We made a ‘cheat sheet’ and wrote some morse code messages. We even had a go at using a flashlight to send morse code but that was pretty tricky!
You can download the free printable Morse code sheet here.
The Pigpen Cipher
The Pigpen cipher is a really old code that is really fun to write. I left my boys a secret message in pigpen for them to decode when they woke up one morning!
After that first message I suddenly started to get little notes written in Pigpen, so I had to keep my decoder sheet handy so I could work out what they said!
You can download the free printable pigpen secret code sheet here.
Make Your Own Secret Codes
Now that we had the hang of this cool secret code thing, it was time for us to try making our own!
We learned that it is important to make the symbols and drawings we used to represent each letter quite simple, and easy to reproduce accurately. If you make them too complicated it will be impossible to write a coded message that someone else can decipher!
I made up a simple sheet with letters, numbers a couple of punctuation marks and a few blank spaces so we could create as many new secret codes as we wanted!
This printable is an A4 sized pdf file, you will need a pdf reader such as adobe acrobat to open it. If you are printing on US ‘letter sized’ paper be sure to select ‘fit’ or ‘shrink to fit’ from your printer options.
Please remember that the printables at picklebums.com are for personal use only, you may not sell, share, or link directly to these files.
More Cool Secret Code for Kids
Using secret code is so fun, and there are lots more super cool secret code activities you can do.
Here are a few more secret code ideas and activities to try.
Make maths fun with this Number line secret code
Make a secret code from Legos!
Learn the ASCII binary alphabet with Lego.
Print this secret decoder pinwheel.
Have a go at decoding these Star Wars quotes.
Do you need more fun activities for school aged kids?
Try one of these…