Children love communicating in secret codes – it makes them feel special and intelligent. And speaking or writing in codes does build their social and abstract thinking skills and help in their cognitive development. Communicating in codes is fun and you must have used secret codes to communicate with your friends too in your childhood. Now that you are a parent, you must be thinking to teach your children how to use codes and ciphers too to build their logical skills and to let them have fun in their childhood. That’s a great idea! But if you need some codes and ciphers to get your kids started, we’ve got you covered!
Difference Between a Cipher and a Code
A cipher is a system used for rearranging the sequence of letters, symbols or a mix of alphabets to encrypt messages. A cipher changes a word or message on a letter-by-letter basis. On the other hand, a code changes words and phrases into something else for interpretation.
For example, the President could mean Eagle in code.
But in Cipher system, 01456 could mean President.
Cypher systems were used in the past to encrypt messages for sending over enemy lines. Put simply, it adds an extra layer of security.
7 Secret Codes for Kids to Learn
Here are some secret codes and ciphers that you can teach your kids (and their friends) to get them started. They will take the communication to a new level, and they are guaranteed to have fun with their friends when they communicate in secret codes while playing.
Scytale is a cool cypher-transcription technique where you wrap a roll of paper around a cylinder and write a message over it. When the paper is unrolled, the letters transcribed appear randomly and do not make sense. But when the reader wraps the roll over a cylinder again, the message becomes comprehensible. The cylinder and the roll of paper have to be the same size though and you have to make sure the paper roll covers the entire length.
Fun fact: It’s one of the oldest encryption techniques and was a system that was once used by the Greeks!
2. Number Coding
You don’t always have to write letters or symbols to make up code for your messages. One of the easiest ways to create secret codes for children is to substitute letters with numbers. You can assign a number to each letter and teach your children how to convey a secret message using number codes. Your children are going to have so much fun using this form of coding.
3. Morse Code
Morse code can be taught for relaying messages to someone whenever there’s an emergency and you don’t want the person in front of you to know what you’re sending. Granted, it takes a bit of time and effort to learn but your children will love learning it. It will also help in their cognitive developing. The messages take the form of dots, dashes, spaces and slashes.
4. Phonetic Alphabet
The phonetic alphabet is one of the best easy codes for kids to learn because it is easy-to-learn and your children will find communicating through phonetic alphabet very enjoyable. For example, if you want to teach your child to say RUN in a coded language, you can convey by writing/saying the following phonetic words: River Under Nigeria. Of course, the system has evolved over the years and now has introduced symbols into the mix too which you can teach your children today.
5. American Sign Language
American Sign Language is a simple and fun way to relay messages over to each other when you’re at a distance. You don’t need words and your gestures do the talking. It’s easy to learn and one of the most popular ciphers for kids out there when they relay messages in movements.
Teaching your kids the ASL during their early years will open up many doors in the future. Bear in mind that ASL is not shorthand and has its own learning curve if you’re getting in-depth.
6. Tap Code
Tap, pause, tap. That is 1 – 1 which translates to A.
Tap, pause, tap, tap. That is 1-2, which is for B.
This is one way to create a code for the letters.
Tap code is a complex cipher system that creates letters using tapping sounds. Tapping on the person’s thighs, arm or on the ground to make letters and string them together can also be taught to children to teach them how to communicate secretly. During dinner time, your kids can have fun with each other by tapping under the table and relaying messages in secret.
7. Substitution Cipher
The substitution cipher is perhaps one of the most sophisticated cypher systems. For kids who have mastered the other systems above, they will find this cipher system very easy to learn. The way it works is it lets you create your own cipher system by substituting the order and sequence of letters. Alphabets could be flipped in reverse to make words or symbols that could be used to represent words and phrases. There are endless possible variations you could go with and that’s the beauty of this system. Your kids are going to find this cipher system so much fun – they will love creating their own ciphers to communicate with their friends.
These are some codes and ciphers that should help your child get started. Your children will love sharing these codes with their friends and using them when playing spy games or any other games. Teach these codes and ciphers to your children and let them live their childhood to the fullest!