Secret codes

Your secret agent will learn logic and problem solving by building this secret decoder wheel.

You'll Need

  • Two paper plates
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Brad (brass fastener)

Learning Stages

Challenge your child’s problem solving skills by helping her to create her own decoder to write and interpret coded messages. Help your child in following the instructions below:

  1. Trim the outside, scalloped edge off one of the paper plates and fasten the two plates together in the middle using the brad.
  2. Around the edge of the outer plate, write the letters A to Z, making sure that the letters are evenly spaced around the plate. It may help when spacing to write the A at twelve o’clock, the G at three o’clock, the M at six o’clock and the T at nine o’clock.
  3. On the smaller plate, write the numbers 1 through 26 below each letter of the alphabet.

To start, have your child create codes with the A aligned at 1. Then your child can experiment with changing the code by moving the inner plate. Your child will enjoy making this project with a friend and sending each other coded notes or email. You can join in as well, using the decoder to write messages to your child; 3-12-5-1-14 25-15-21-18 18-15-15-13. 12-15-22-12, 13-15-13 is much more engaging than Clean your room. Love, Mom.