How to Make Secret Code Wheels for Kids

Written by ruth o'neil
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How to Make Secret Code Wheels for Kids
(Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Kids like to pretend they are spies from time to time. They use magnifying glasses to find clues. Sometimes those spies need to send messages to other spies; however, they can't just write out a message that everyone can read. They need to write a message in code. Make secret code wheels for your kids to play with and to help them send and interpret coded messages they receive.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Card stock
  • 2 different sized glasses
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Fine-point marker
  • Hole punch
  • Metal clasp

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  1. 1

    Lay the card stock on a flat surface. Draw two circles, using the pencil, by tracing around the lips of the glasses. Make sure one of the glasses is at least 1/2-inch larger in diameter than the other one.

  2. 2

    Cut out the two rounds using the scissors.

  3. 3

    Divide the circle into 26 wedges using the pencil and the ruler. Draw 13 straight lines across the circle, as you would in cutting a pizza, to give you the 26 different wedges. Do this on both of the circles.

  4. 4

    Trace over the wedge lines using a fine-point tipped permanent marker.

  5. 5

    Write all 26 letters, in alphabetical order, at the edges of the circle inside the individual wedges on the larger circle.

  6. 6

    Come up with a special code and write it out on paper. Assign each of the letters a number, symbol or another letter--for example, A = 1.

  7. 7

    Copy the code from the paper to the wedges on the smaller circle.

  8. 8

    Lay the smaller circle on top of the larger circle. Center the smaller circle inside the larger circle so you can easily see all the letters or figures on both circles.

  9. 9

    Punch a hole through the centre of both circles. Add the metal clasp through the front of the code wheel and open the clasps on the back to hold the two pieces in place; adjust so that it is loose enough to allow the circles to turn.

Tips and warnings

  • When tracing the wedge lines with the marker, make sure the marker leaves an ink mark only about the width that a ballpoint pen would, otherwise your lines will be too close and you will not be able to add the letters.
  • You can make up any special code you want. For example, you can go backwards with the alphabet meaning that “a” really stands for “z,” “b” stands for “y” and so forth. You could also just come up with a random code; just make sure you use each letter only one time. You could also use the numbers 1 to 26 to represent the letters.

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