A while ago I had bought this cool book called "Spyology". It is absolutely fabulous, and I highly recommend you buy it for your kids or even just for yourself. It takes you through a real case study from the 60's (released after the 'fifty year rule'). It has codes, ways to disguise yourself, real known spies, and cool spy notes that have hidden messages. It's sure to capture the attention and imagination no matter what age you are!!
Anyway, I used a lot of the hidden message ideas that the book used. I dressed up in a black skirt, a white shirt, a pinstripe jacket, and a fedora hat to look like a 'real' detective. I also got some sheet music for the Pink Panther, and any time I would say "The Case of the Invisible Holy Ghost", I'd have the pianist play the first four notes. The kids were delighted and giggled every time this happened (which was fairly often).
Download Holy Ghost cutouts here:
I printed the outlines of the Holy Ghost on white paper and cut them out so that they were just white silouettes. Hence, the invisible part. I then used my Staedetler marker to write the clue number as well as a song on the silouettes, and used a paper clip to attach the next 'clue'. Here's how it went:
- I give this to them
- sing "Listen, Listen"
- stretched out letters on paper which, if held at an angle, is readable. You can use MS Word for this with a text shape box. I used Adobe Illustrator. This is Ariel font that is stretched vertically.
- this clue directs you to the whiteboard
- pick a child to search the whiteboard for this clue
- sing "To Think About Jesus" - 71
- invisible ink (this I had bought at the $store, but stationary stores sell invisible ink as a security feature. Check the ink sections. You should be able to get a blacklight at the $store). Use the little pen blacklight to illuminate the writing.
- tells them to ask a teacher for the next clue
- the kids ask all of the teachers if they have the next clue until they find it
- sing "Search, Ponder and Pray" 109
- clue is coded, use the Cryptotron to decode. I've included the sheet to print out a large Cryptotron for you. Print out two of them, cut out the big circle from one sheet, and the smaller circle from the other sheet. Use a brad to pin the two together so that they spin.
Here's how you use the Cryptotron with the example: YES / JIOIHGCMBA The password is always the word that appears before the forward slash, and the coded message appears after it. In this instance, the password is YES. The first two letters of the password (YE) show how the two Cryptotron rings should be set. Turn the outer ring so the Y is at the top and the inner ring so the E is line up beneath it. The number of letters in teh password show how many spaces the inner ring must be turned, clockwise, each time a letter is decoded. YES has three letters, so that's three spaces. To start decoding, look for the first letter of the code (J) on the outer ring, then find its match on the inner ring (it's a C). Write this down. Then turn the inner ring three spaces in a clockwise direction (because there are three letters in the password). Next, look for the I on the outer ring and find its match on the inner ring (an R). Write this down, then move the inner ring three more spaces and look for the next letter, and so on until you have decoded the whole word (CRYPTOTRON). Encoding: In order to create a code, use the same process as for decoding. In this case we'll use the password PASSWORD. Align the P on the outer ring with the A on the inner ring, beneath the arrow. To encrypt the word HELLO, first find the H on the inner ring and write down teh letter on the outer ring (T). Now move the inner ring in a clockwise diretion eight times (the number of letters ijn PASSWORD). Next, find the E on the inner ring and write down the letter on teh outer ring (M). Continue to encode L, L and O, turning the dial each time you have encrypted a ltter. Write your coded text as follows: PASSWORD / TMKMF
- this clue says to look under the chairs
Download CRYPTOTRON.pdf - 210KB
- naturally every kid will look under his/her chair, and often their neighbor's chair until the clue is found
- sing "Seek the Lord Early" - 106
- this is a blue hidden in red clue. Use a piece of clear red acetate or the red magnifying glass that comes with "Spyology" if you have it. Anything that is clear and tinted red will work. I used Adobe Photoshop to make this clue, but I have included the red splotched background. All you need to do is print this out, then put the printed out paper back in the printer. Use MS Word to type out a message in Ariel font, size: 13pt, color R236 G 243 B251. Print this out onto the paper you've already printed and you'll have your message hidden in the red.
- this message says to look under a garbage can in between two doors
Download the red speckled background here:
Download blank_blueonredclue.jpg - 166KB
- and now every kid gets up and races to all of the garbage cans in the room, finding the clue under one of them
- sing "The Holy Ghost" - 105
- this clue is a large question mark surrounded by a solid line border. I loved tricking the kids with this one. They thought it might be invisible ink, but it wasn't. Even after I gave them a magnifying glass, they missed the obvious-yet-not-so-obvious. The solid line border isn't actually completely solid. At the very bottom there is tiny, tiny print. I was able to achieve this with my little laser printer (which is another invaluable tool I use for Primary). At 1.5pt sized font, it's very tiny. You can use MS Word to make a clue like this. I used Adobe Illustrator. Please note that you can only use a laser printer for this one, the text is too small for a bubblejet or inkjet printer.
- this clue says to look under Sister Judd's shoe (hey, that's me!)
- and my legs are immediately being hefted up by kids so that they can find the next clue
- this is the last one, and it says "You can't see the Holy Ghost, but you can feel him"
- I now pass out miniature Cryptotrons for each kid. I've included the sheets for the mini Cryptotrons. Print them out. I then used a 2" circle punch for the outer circles and a 1.5" circle punch for the inner circles. You can get these from your local craft store. Use coupons! Just pin together with mini brads. I got 100 brads at my craft store for $2 using a 50% off coupon. I used 30 brads. Cheap stuff, and the kids were thrilled. :)
Download the small Cryptotrons here:
Download small_crypt.pdf - 379KB
You can finish off by repeating that even though you can' t see the Holy Ghost, and Heavenly Father and Jesus for that matter, they are there and you can find them if you have the right tools (the Book of Mormon, prayer, listening to the prophet, etc).