Printable Cryptogram Worksheets

A cryptogram is a hidden message within a series of scrambled words. This really makes for a fun practice sheet for students. It's really helpful when meeting new vocabulary. You will find a wide range of cryptograms here.

  1. Africa
  2. Ancient Egypt
  3. Ancient Rome
  4. Animals
  5. Antarctica
  6. Black History Month
  7. Cells
  8. Civil War
  9. Colonial America
  10. Dinosaurs
  11. Earth
  12. Elements and Compounds
  13. Environment
  14. Food
  15. Forces Of Nature
  16. Hanukkah
  17. Human Body
  18. Holocaust
  19. Industrial Revolution
  20. Inventors
  21. Magnets / Electricity
  22. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  23. Oceans
  24. Plants
  25. Presidents
  26. Rainforest
  27. Revolution (American)
  28. Slavery
  29. Space
  30. St. Patrick's Day
  31. Thanksgiving
  32. U.S. Constitution
  33. U.S. Presidents
  34. Volcanoes
  35. Voting & Elections
  36. Westward Expansion
  37. Winter

Cryptograms By Grade Level

Grade 1
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Grade 2
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Grade 3
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Grade 4
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Grade 5
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Grade 6
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Grade 7
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Grade 8
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  5. Word List 5

How Can Cryptograms Help Students?

Almost all of us have grown up watching movies like The Matrix and Star Wars. These movies have made the world of cryptograms and decoding look very appealing and exciting. While the director of The Matrix used Japanese sushi recipes for his famous “Matrix digital rain,” it made us all very curious about the world of cryptograms and ciphers.

What Are They?

A cryptogram is a type of puzzle, or text, which is written in code. The letters or words in a cryptogram are substituted with numbers or other symbols. They were initially used for high-security purposes in wars, but nowadays, cryptograms are used as fun activities in books and newspapers.

Cryptograms are different from crosswords because they do not give you definitions but actual words of quotations, where each letter is replaced by another letter or symbol. For example, the letters O in the word BAMBOO can be replaced by the symbol ɵ.

A cryptogram is like a secret code. A “simple substitution cipher” most commonly used, in which a character from the cipher text replaces a character from the plain text.

The History of Them

Cryptograms were used to create personal secrets and military codes. The most famous cryptogram was the Zimmerman Telegram, which the German minister sent to Mexico. The British intelligence decoded the telegram, resulting in them gaining serious leverage in the war.

Why Are They Good for Students?

- A productive activity:

Cryptograms are puzzles that kids and students can decode as a fun way to pass the time and increase their thinking abilities.

- Finding an encrypted solution:

Decoding a cryptogram and finding its solution is an excellent exercise for the brain. It also gives a good understanding of artificial intelligence and decoders.

- Understanding history:

Cryptograms were a paradox in World War II. The cracking of the Enigma code was the most critical part of the victory of the Allied powers.

- Understanding patterns in the English language:

In solving cryptograms, students will look for the conventions of the English language and make educated guesses. They will look for letters primarily used in English words and vowels and then try to decode words using their common logic.

- Themes in cryptograms:

Teachers can create particular cryptograms that can be used as a different approach to quizzes. They can be used for an examination of spellings or definitions related to the subject. Students will be extra motivated to score good points on the quiz when it is given to them in the form of exciting codes and ciphers.

How Do They Work?

Messages are created in the form of codes in a cryptogram.

The most common method to do this is called a "substitution cipher," in which a letter can be substituted by another letter or character, e.g., H is substituted for R, and Z is substituted for B.

H R 7 V G Z

In this example,

S = H
E = R
C = 7
R = V
E = G
T = Z.

The other technique is the Caesar cipher, in which the cryptogram code differs from the cipher by shifting alphabets. E.g., using B in place of A, and C in place of B.


In the above example,

G = H
R = S
A = B
V = W
I = J
T = U
Y = Z

Nowadays, cryptograms are being used as brainteasers and mind puzzles, with many mobile applications and online resources available that allow you to solve different cryptographic puzzles.

Cryptoquote are puzzles in which a famous quote is encrypted. There is another version of cryptogram called Coded Word, which uses encrypted Bible texts. Cryptoquiz uses different themes like plants, animals, etc., and all the words encoded are related to the topic on which the cryptogram is based.

How to Solve Them?

If you see a question mark at the end of a code, immediately think of the words who, why, when, what, where, how, etc. You can easily guess that if the first word is a five-letter word, it could be “where”.

Look for the common letters used in English words. We know every word has a vowel in it, so try to decipher the vowels first. Then putting other letters beside them one by one will make you understand the pattern. You will make out a lot of words by this trial and error technique.

Short words are comparatively easier to solve. We know a lot of short 2 or 3 - letters words. If you have already placed one letter, e.g., _ _ E, then you can quickly recall other three-letter words ending in E, like ate, bee, cue, ice, etc.

Try to decipher the first word of the sentence, which is usually short like THE. If there are 2 similar characters present in a word, you can substitute it with words having double letters, e.g., all, will, stall, etc.

When you see a comma in the sentence, look for words that are used to combine two sentences with a comma. Examples of such words are, therefore, thus, indeed, however, instead, etc.

Sometimes, the cryptographic puzzles pose a very easy word to decipher, and we take forever to come up with complicated solutions. Always keep in mind that an "I" can sometimes mean an "I," and not any other letter.

The skills required to decode a cryptogram can be helpful in many fields in life. It is an interesting skill to achieve and worth learning. It will also aid the students in learning many complex concepts in the future, like computer coding and AI. Cryptograms have proven to have a great impact on the history of the world, and it continues to make way for future advancements.