Secret Messages


Create a picture symbol code, then write mysterious messages with Crayola® Colored Pencils.


1. Research Egyptian hieroglyphics and how the Rosetta Stone makes it possible to decode ancient Egyptian writings. Investigate other languages that use picture characters to communicate ideas.

2. Write each alphabet letter with Crayola Colored Pencils on construction paper.

3. Draw an original symbol next to each letter to make a key. Use a symbol that reminds you of something that starts with the letter, such as dog for d.

4. On scrap paper, write a simple, friendly message with the regular alphabet. Under it, write the same message with the symbols you created.

5. Cut strips of black construction paper about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) wide with Crayola Scissors.

6. Write your symbol message on the black paper with metallic colored pencils.

7. Roll up the paper and place it in a film canister. Exchange the message, and a copy of your key, with a friend.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Study ancient Egypt. Share information about the building of the pyramids. Discuss farming techniques. Read about mummification and burial practices.
  • Expand explorations of written language into characters such as those in Chinese, Japanese, and Thai.
  • Explore pictographs, petroglyphs, and rock paintings done by ancient peoples.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Colored Pencils
  • Construction Paper
household supplies
  • white paper
  • empty plastic film canisters



  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12


  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students research Egyptian hieroglyphics then develop their own picture symbol codes.

  • Students write messages using picture symbols instead of letters.

  • Students use analytical skills to decode each other's messages.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards