spy night

Report Copyright Infringement View in OSM UK View in OSM NZ


Make a code wheel with mutiple codes and young people use it to code break or write their own messages


Code wheel template attached printed on card or stiff paper, split pin (laminator pouches and laminator can be used to make wheels last longer (e.g. for camp), Messages written in different codes such as pigpen, morse, semaphore, signlanguage, number to letters and alphabet ciphers
Old clothes to dress up in for spy disguise game
Semaphore flags if doing semaphore


Give each young person half a template sheet each with the three wheels on. Ask then to cut out the wheels very carefully. Stick the two biggest circles together back to back (small dab of glue only if using the laminator).
If laminating, now laminate the large and small wheels.
Get an adult to carefully make a hole in the centre of each wheel using a skewer into a wood block, put the small wheel on top of the larger wheel with the white centre, and clip together using a split pin.
Your wheel is now ready to use for various activities

1)Rotate groups each with different code and perhaps one with a different language
2) Hide messages on slips of paper or in film canisters around an area and ask Cubs to find canisters and decode messages, perhaps as a treasure hunt trail (for Navigator badge)
3) Play the spy disguise game - Teams line up with a pile of old clothes in front of them (shirt, hat, scarf (perhaps false glasses/nose disguise), trousers (cut-offs but adult size is fun)) enough for one of each per team. On go, first team member runs up and puts on one of each item and runs to their spymaster (an adult) to receive a message - they take this back to the team after undressing (we took photos of each in disguise to send home later) and the team decode or it could be a verbal message such as "Next member to sign letter R in semaphore (or sign language) to the spymaster". Next member then runs up, dresses up, passes on answer to decoding (or performs action) then gets new message, undresses and passes on etc.
To add a twist you could ask last member to get team to work out what their word is that they made in semaphore - letters could be given out in reverse order to team.
Game is fun, uses memory and message passing skills skills for communicators badge and uses code breaking wheel.


  • cipher
  • code
  • code breaking
  • codebreaking
  • codes
  • communicator
  • morse code
  • Navigator
  • semaphore
  • sign language
  • spy
  • Treasure Trail

Badge Links

  • Communicator - Code
  • Communicator - Directions
  • Communicator - Language
  • Communicator - Memory
  • Communicator - Message
  • Creative - Problem solving
  • Navigator - Treasure hunt