Phonetic Alphabet

It is really important to be able toPhonetic Alphabet spell out something so others can understand you.  That is why the military uses the following words to make letters understandable.  Many letters in our alphabet sound similar, like “D” and “T” and “C” and “E” and “Z”,  but they don’t sound at all alike when you say DELTA and TANGO and CHARLIE and ECHO and ZEBRA.  Believe it or not, many people who work in offices use these on a regular basis to spell out things like e-mail address and when booking travel itineraries.

I shouldn’t laugh but just today I overheard someone spelling out a word and she said “Iguana” for the letter “I”.  Of course, the person on the other end ddidn’t even know what letter “Iguana” started with so there was a bit of confusion.  It sure would have been easier if she used the International Alphabet.  Give the International Alphabet a try while spelling out your name.

Invisible Ink


You can use lemon juice, whole milk, or cream to write (or paint) an invisible message on a piece of white paper.

To reveal the message you need to heat the paper up.  Get a grownup to help you by putting the paper in a hot frying pan and hold it down with a pot holder until the secret message appears.

Another method for revealing the secret message is to have an adult hold the paper over a hot incandescent light bulb and wait for the message to appear.

Pig Latin


This is a great way for kids to talk to each other without anyone knowing what they are saying (caution to kids, many parents used this secret language when they were kids so they will be able to pick up on what you are saying pretty quickly – so ask them. “Hey mom and dad, did you talk Pig Latin when you were kids?” If they look confused then you are safe.)

It is so easy to learn Pig Latin since it’s really just saying English words in a different way. Here is how it works. Pick a word, take the first letter off the word and put it on the end of the word and then add “ay” to it. That’s all you do. Simple (or implesay in Pig Latin). With a little practice you can be really fast at this. Give it a try with your name and the names of your friends. For example: Robert becomes Obertray, Paul becomes Aulpay, Nancy becomes Ancynay, you get the idea. Have fun practicing this one with your friends and then you can talk with them in secret code without anyone else knowing what you are saying. How cool is that?!?

Keeping Track (Journal Keeping)

Pen and Paper

Keeping your own journal and writing down your adventures is really important. To do this you will need a sturdy hard-bound book so that all the pages stay in it. A journal is meant to be permanent so keep this in mind – what you are really doing is creating a book and the subject of the book is your adventures – how cool is that?!?. You can get good blank books at stationary stores, bookstores, big box stores, ‘dollar’ stores, etc… If you keep on the lookout you can get a good personal journal that is right for you.

How do you want to use your journal? Do you want to mostly write in it or would you rather draw pictures or paint or sketch or make technical drawings?

I draw all my illustrations in crayon so that they don’t run if the paper gets wet and so they won’t smear. You can also use ball point pen, Sharpie markers, and pencil to draw your pictures but I think crayons work best. And when I write, I almost always use ball point pen so it won’t smear or run.

I do all of the above and I will sometimes tape in a photograph or postcard or put in a relevant sticker from the places I’ve been to. For my journal I usually use one that has graph paper lines in it – that means it has even squares on every page rather than lines or being blank. Mostly I write in mine so the squares keep my handwriting from going all over the place – and the little boxes help me to line up the pictures and cards when I put them in. Also, the grid lines help me to draw things since I’m not very good at drawing.

It is important to have one main journal and put everything in it so you always have it all in one place and you can reference it.

Tin Can Phone

Tin Can Phone

You will need:
Two tin cans (or paper cups, or plastic cups)
One piece of string or thin rope that is long enough to connect both the “phones”

Poke holes in the bottom of the cups – the holes should be about the size of the string that you are planning to use.. Run the string through the hole in the bottom of one of the cups and, on the end of the string that is on the inside of the cup, tie a knot so that the string won’t pull back through. Repeat this on the other cup with the other end of the piece of string. You now have two cups (or tin cans) that are connected by a piece of string. If you pull the cups so that the string is taught, you can hear in one can what is being said in the other can. The sound passes down the string from one person’s voice on one end to the other person’s ear at the other.

The advantage to using a tin can is you can tap it and the sound goes along the string. This is VERY handy for doing Morse Code or for getting the attention of the person at the other end!

Morse Code

Radio Telegraph

Every kid should know a little about Morse code. This language was devised so that messages could be sent using a Telegraph machine. You see, long before there were phones, people would send messages using a machine called a Telegraph which could make only two sounds: a short beep, which they called a dot, and a long beep which they called a dash. By using these two sounds in sequence, they communicated using Morse code. You can, too.

Morse Code

The absolutely, positively most important thing to know in Morse code is S.O.S. If you learn nothing else, you should learn these two letters. This is critical information for every kid and every Adult. Dot dot dot, dash dash dash, dot dot dot. If you are tapping it to someone it’s three short taps, pause, three long taps, pause, three short taps. Go on and give it a try. This has become the international symbol for help.
A good game to play is hangman using Morse code. Yes it’s difficult but it’s fun and good practice. Give it a try and see how much fun it can be.