Here we explain to kids how a keyword cipher works, then present 3 pages of coded messages for them to decipher. Quite a challenge!
All NEW! Here are some more tricky codes for the kids to explore - the keyword cipher! A keyword cipher is a substitution cipher.
Instructions for a keyword cipher
First, the alphabet is written out in order. Then a keyword is chosen and written below it. If a letter appears in the keyword more than once, only the first instance is used. Now the rest of the alphabet is written down in alphabetical order, missing out any letters that are already in the keyword. In the example below, the keyword is “ACTIVITY”. Because I and T appear more than once, we write it into the grid as ACTIVY. We then write the alphabet into the grid, leaving out the letters A, C, T, I, V and Y.
This is the actual keyword used on the first of our keyword cipher challenges, which you can download by clicking on the links below. You will also find instructions and printables for writing your own keyword cipher messages, and solutions of our challenges for those who get stuck.
Download the complete set of our keyword ciphers in one package - including 3 pages of keyword cipher challenges, 2 pages of "write your own" keyword cipher printables, and a page of solutions. Perfect for keep the kids busy and engaged for a while!
If the kids get stuck deciphering our keyword cipher challenges - here are the solutions. Don't peak before they have had a good try, though!