Children's writing

Creative Gifts – Day #21

Yesterday, we talked about charitable contributions, gift certificates, and homemade coupons for services and shared time. Today, we’re going dress those up in a whole lot of fun: We’re going to wrap them in a puzzle, the most entertaining gift wrap I know. It’ll be a snap; I’ll show you.

  1. Choose a place where you will hide the gift card or coupons: under a lampshade or lamp, under the recipient’s pillow after she has gotten up, anywhere at all.
  2. Think of a clue describing the place you’ve hidden the gift. If you hid it under a lamp, you might say, “Got any bright ideas where I hid your gift?” If you hid it under a pillow, you might say, “I hid your gift. If you get tired of looking, I suggest you sleep on it.”
  3. Now turn that clue into a puzzle. We’re going to use a letter-substitution code to make a cryptogram. You can write out your own code or use this one:
    Letter substitution codeWhere there’s an A in your clue, you write a D instead. Where there’s a B, you write O. So “GOT ANY BRIGHT IDEAS WHERE I HID YOUR GIFT?” becomes “YKU DTS OEWYMU WJQDX NMQEQ W MWJ SKGE YWCU?”
  4. Write the clue on a piece of paper along with instructions for deciphering the clue

    Each letter in the code represents a different letter of the alphabet. Once you’ve figured out what one letter or word is, use those letters to help decipher other words.

  5. Seal the clue in an envelope, and put it in the recipient’s stocking or under the tree.


In addition to the joy of receiving the gift, the recipient will have the added entertainment of solving a puzzle and hunting the gift down. Never has a gift card been so fun to receive!

Now, if you’re giving this gift to a child, you might want to offer some hints to help solve it. You could, for instance, provide a few letters to get him started, say Q=E, U=T, and Y=G. Maybe point out that the one-letter words are a good place to start solving.

On the other hand, you can add another layer of fun by cutting the piece of paper with the code into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle and putting the pieces in the envelope. Now she’s got to put the pieces together, solve the cryptogram, figure out what the clue means, and find the gift.

Best gift ever!

Got a new bike or car hidden in the garage? Wrap it in a puzzle and put it under the tree. You can wrap anything in a puzzle.

So…who’s game?

Categories: Children's writing