Make your own Secret Code

Hello! My name is Missy and I’m an artist and guest blogger here at PBS KIDS Utah. As a kid, I kept many journals, diaries, and sketchbooks. Sometimes I drew in them, but I mostly wrote in them. Some of the things I wrote about felt secret and special to me. I didn’t want anyone else to be able to read them, especially my little sister! So I would make up secret codes and languages that only I could understand. Today I’m going to teach you how to make your very own secret code!



  • Lined paper
  • Pencil
  • A wild imagination



  1. Brainstorm and think of lots of different symbols. The symbols can be circles, hearts, lines, dots, or upside-down letters/numbers.
  2. Fill a page with symbol ideas. 
  3. Fold a new piece of paper hotdog style, creating two columns.
  4. Starting at the top of the left column, write the alphabet A-Z with one letter on each line. Move to the right column when you run out of lines. 
  5. Next to each letter, draw one of your symbols. Give each letter its own, different symbol. This page is called your KEY.
  6. Think of a short message and write it on a new page. This is what you will use to practice your secret code. Something like “I love you” or “Happy Halloween.”
  7. Use your KEY to substitute each letter of your short message for a symbol. You can write the symbol just below each letter of the message. 
  8. Now get a new page and re-write your message in your new secret code. 
  9. Have fun!


You can use this code to write whatever you’d like. You can write your name, a note, or a message about how your day went. You can keep your secret code for yourself, or you can write coded note for a friend. Just make sure to give them a copy of your KEY so they can decipher the message. Remember to be creative and have a great day!


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