6 Secret Codes You Can Teach Kids

Coding Languages

. Pig Latin can be understood relatively well when spoken at a regular pace. To mystify friends and family, try speeding it up a little. And for extra credit, try memorizing a speech in Pig Latin usingthis online translator.

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website includesan Ubbi Dubbi-to-English translatorto play around with. For more fun, try substituting other fragments for

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Do you want to know a secret? Speaking or writing in code with your grandchildren isnt just a fun way to pass the time its a wonderful activity for building their social and abstract thinking skills. And its a great way to bond. So the next time you and the kids get together with secrets to share, try using one of these six clandestine languages or ciphers. Theyre easy to learn, appropriate for all ages, and just plain fun.

If youve ever been told to am-scray, youve heard Pig Latin. This altered language is so popular, Google has aPig Latin search engineand you can even readseveral books of the Biblein it. To convert a word into Pig Latin, remove the first consonant, place it at the end of the word, and add the fragment

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Turn your grandchildren into spy kids with these super fun, top-secret codes.

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Made popular by the classic PBS childrens program

A=27, etc.). If you dont quite have time to write a long letters-for-numbers message to your grandchild, check outthis handy online text decoder.

Some of the coolest codes dont require learning new languages or letter systems. In the case of invisible ink, all you need is special writing fluid and an appropriate surface. The concept behind invisible ink is straightforward: Using a top-secret compound, one person writes a message that cant be seen by anyone but the intended recipient, who knows how to make it appear. You can buy invisible-ink sets from toy or office-supply stores, or make your own at home usingbaking sodalemon juicemilk, orwhite crayon.

Its said that mirror writing, or the ability to write in reverse, is genetic and that it comes naturally to just 1 in 6,500 people. One of those appears to have been Leonardo da Vinci, who wrote many of his personal notes from right to left. He could decipher his own pages, but others had to hold them up to a reflective surface. Today, you can see mirror writing on the hoods of emergency vehicles, so words like AMBULANCE can be read correctly in rearview mirrors. While some are born with the gift of mirror writing, it can also be learned through the ancient art of practice. Try it at home with a pen, a piece of paper, and a hand-held mirror, or follow the simple steps inthis PBS Kids tutorial.

is inserted before each vowel of a word. For example, the word

Thubat ubis uba luboveluby hubat, Grubandmuba.

. Itll sound to non-speakers like you have a mouth full of marbles, but to you and your grandchildren, it will all make perfect sense.

, Ubbi Dubbi is a nonsense language in which the syllable

How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?

To the uninitiated, Morse code sounds like beeping gibberish. But to those in the know, this elaborately spaced series of dashes and dots is a fascinating language, useful in wartime, at home, or as a potential lifeline in times of emergency. Usually attributed to painter Samuel Morse, Morse code was created in the mid-19th century as a way of communicating over the newly-invented telegraph. Each letter of the alphabet was represented by dots, dashes, or a combination of the two, and transmitted over the airwaves by an operator. The code was picked up by pilots during the 1930s, and became a major mode of naval communication after that, until it was finally, officially, retired during the 1990s. Today, Morse code is still popular among amateur radio operators, aviators, and cipher enthusiasts, who can draw, tap, or flash its letters to other aficionados across the globe. Find a Morse code translatorhere, or for a tutorial.

. A whole sentence might look like this:

. For words beginning with vowels, move the first vowel to the end, and add the syllable

Substituting numbers for letters is one of the simplest written ciphers, with the digits 1 through 26 standing in for the ABCs (A=1, B=2, etc.). Using the code, you can compose long letters, short Facebook updates, or just find out if your phone number spells a word. For a slightly more complex code, try numbering the letters backward (A=26, B=25, etc.), or using multiple sets of 26 numbers (A=1

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