#3 on the list–The Cipher/I Spy Journal
Secret codes and ciphers
Kids can collect secret codes in their journals. You can write a secret message in their journals and they can write messages in each other’s journals. I haven’t met a kid yet (young or old) who doesn’t enjoy a good, old-fashioned secret decoder.
Google ciphers and you have a plethora to choose from. Here is the cipher wheel I used:
This gives you 26 different substitution alphabet possibilities.
Practice one code all week long. Try a different code every week. Cub Scouts have a section in their books about Indian glyphs. That would make a super fun secret code.
National Treasure made the Ottendorf cipher famous:
• Each correspondent has a copy of the same book title and edition to use as the key.
• This cipher consists of three numbers X – X – X
• The first number is the page number, the second number is the line on that page, and the third number is the letter in that line.
Another fun cipher for kids is the PIG PEN cipher:
Can you see how this one works? The key is essential!
There is a fun series of books that use codes and treasure hunts for books–
For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.
Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game―before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.
This was so much fun to read that I did a scavenger hunt for two of my kids’ families. The author has a fun website where there are clues to books hidden by fans all over the country. The author, herself hides books whenever she goes on tour. It’s kind of like geo-caching for books.
Mr. Quisling is definitely up to something mysterious, and Emily and James are on high alert. First, there’s the coded note he drops at a book event. Then, they uncover a trail of encrypted messages in Mark Twain-penned books hidden through Book Scavenger. What’s most suspicious is that each hidden book triggers an arson fire.
As the sleuthing friends dig deeper, they discover Mr. Quisling has been hunting a legendary historical puzzle: the Unbreakable Code. This new mystery is irresistible, but Emily and James can’t ignore the signs that Mr. Quisling might be the arsonist.
The clock is ticking as the arson fires multiply, and Emily and James race to crack the code of a lifetime.
The third book in the series was just released 1 May 2018–The Alcatraz Escape
Legendary literary game-maker Garrison Griswold is back in action―this time with “Unlock the Rock.” For his latest game, Griswold has partnered with the famous–and famously reclusive–mystery writer Errol Roy to plan an epic escape room challenge on Alcatraz Island.
Emily and James are eager to participate, but the wave of fame they are riding from their recent book-hunting adventures makes them a target. Threatening notes, missing items, and an accident that might not have been an accident have the duo worried that someone is trying to get them out of the game at any cost.
When Emily’s brother is caught red-handed and blamed for all the wrong doings, Emily is certain Matthew is being framed. With Matthew’s record on the line, Emily and James can’t afford to leave this mystery uncracked.
Here are a couple of books about ciphers if you’d like to learn more:
These are not affiliate links but they can be found on Amazon.