How to write secret messages (pigpen cipher)

Do you want to write secret messages to your kids that they have to decode? Here is a fun and easy cipher to create.

A pigpen cipher is easy to make and fun to use to decode secret messages.

My kids love decoding and writing secret messages. With the pigpen cipher, you can draw it up quickly and leave notes and messages to your kids.

How to make Pigpen Cipher:

Step 1: Start by drawing a hashtag shape (or tic-tac-toe). Fill in each section with a letter starting with A. Like this:

pigpen cipher

Top row: A B C

Middle row: D E F

Bottom row: G H I

Step 2: Draw another hashtag shape (tic-tac-toe). This time, fill in each section with a dot (put the dot toward the bottom of each section to still have room for a letter).

pigpen cipher 2

Now fill in each section with a letter starting with J. Like this:

pigpen cipher 3

Top row: J K L

Middle row: M N O

Bottom row: P Q R

Step 3: Draw an "X" shape. Write the letters S, T, U, and V in each section of the "X" shape. Like this:

pigpen cipher 4

Step 4: Draw another "X" shape. Put a dot in each section of the "X" shape. Now write the letters W, X, Y, and Z in each section of the "X" shape along with the dot. Like this:

pigpen cipher 5

When you are done, you should have a complete Pigpen cipher that looks like this:

Pigpen cipher 6

Now you are ready to write a secret code. The lines surrounding each letter (with or without dots) represents the letter. For instance: 

pigpen cipher 7

You are now ready to write secret messages to your kids! They will love it!

Fun ideas for using a pigpen cipher:

  • Send a secret note in a lunchbox with the cipher
  • Write the codes for sight words and have your child decode them and then read them!
  • Giving the family a big gift (like a trampoline, swimming pool, or trip to Hawaii)? Put the secret message in a box with the cipher and wrap it up. When your kids open the box, they will have to solve the code to get the surprise.


 Learning should be fun!

Blimey Box learning escape games teach kids math and reading skills while having fun! It's an escape room for kids with brain-challenging puzzles, secret codes, and locks. Parents set up the game in 5 minutes and let their child play independently for 30-45 minutes. This hands-on learning experience gets curious children excited about learning!