Through out history, there have been many types of decoder wheels that have been used to send secret messages. These decoder wheels prevented the message from falling into the wrong hands. If you had the decoder wheel, then you were able to decipher the code. Otherwise, it would just appear to be a mumbled, jumbled mess of letters.
If there is one thing my boys love, it is secret codes. I have used secret codes with my boys throughout our homeschooling journey. I have one son who loves them so much, he requests them everyday. We created our own secret decoder wheel, so I can send him messages.
He learns a fun fact along with practicing his handwriting. He loves the challenge and the thrill of breaking the code. I have created two different decoder wheels, and would love to share them with you and your kids.
Decoder Wheels #1
The first one has one way that it works. Simply find the letter and line up the rectangle under the corresponding letter. The letter that appears in the rectangle is the letter you write down. This decoder wheel is perfect for younger kids and is less confusing than other decoders.
The instructions on how to assemble the wheel is on the printable.
I have been creating pages of secret code full of fun facts for my son to crack everyday. He loves these activities! Here they are for you too. I will add more for you as I create them.
Decoder wheels #2 –
The second decoder has many different options. You can give this decoder to 20 different kids and their code will all be different. It all depends on what two letters you line up first. If you line up the A’s, then you create the code making sure the A’s stay lined up. The person writing and receiving will both know what letter to line up to keep their code secret.
I bought each of my boys a small notebook, wrote a coded letter inside each one, and placed the notebook on their bed. They were so excited to get the message and quickly wrote another message back to me. Writing can be fun for your kids especially when you give it meaning. These fidget spinner story prompts are such a fun activity for your family!!
With the second decoder, another child could create the same message as above, but have it look completely different. They could line up a different letter, and unless you know which letters to line up, it would be extremely difficult to break the code. The second decoder wheel is perfect for older kids and those who like a challenge.
These decoders can be hard for younger kids. If your child gets frustrated, then sit side by side and break a code with them. Don’t force it on them and allow them to enjoy the process of breaking the code. It is great for critical thinking and handwriting. My son writes in all uppercase, so I have him solve codes and encourage him to write in lower case. I praise him for each lower case letter he practices.
Here are a couple ideas that would be fun for your kids while using the decoder wheel
- Create a message for dad and leave it in his car/truck (make sure he has the decoder wheel)
- Do a scavenger hunt and each clue is in code that your child has to break in order to find the next clue.
- Have a box in your home that contains a secret mission that needs to be fulfilled. An example could be, “Your mission if you choose to accept it is: your brother is having a hard day, do something to make him smile today.”
The more I homeschool the more I realize that writing shouldn’t be forced and your child’s voice should be the focus of their writing. Let their writing be as creative as they want. Don’t focus on the mistakes, but focus on the thoughts and ideas behind the letters and punctuation.
These decoder wheels are an option that gives your child the opportunity to write while saving the world. A little bit of writing everyday goes a long way! I hope you enjoy it!!