Never Miss a Beat

Sherlock Holmes activities for kids

Happy Birthday Sherlock Holmes! Let’s Create and Decipher

William Sherlock Scott Holmes, best known as Sherlock Holmes, is the world’s only consulting detective, a profession he created for himself.


Oddly enough, people are not 100% when this fictional character is.


Created by the Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle. The prototype for the modern mastermind detective, Holmes first appeared in Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual of 1887. 


Although his creator author Sir Conan Doyle has nowhere in his works mentioned it explicitly, yet, the detective’s birthday is celebrated by fans all over the world on January 6. The year he is believed to have been born is 1854.


Dates aside, whenever we hear Sherlock Holmes, the first thing that comes to mind is MYSTERY! And who doesn’t love a good detective puzzle or “who done it” riddle to solve?


With that in mind, let’s whip up some activities to assist and inspire the sleuth in your home.


Creating and Deciphering Invisible Messages


When my kids were little,  we would write secret messages using lemon juice. We spent hours squeezing lemon juice and dipping our writings stick into our invisible ink and we smelled good too I might add. Now there is another really fun way to write a secret message which doesn’t involve squeezing lots of lemons.


Pilot Pen Company makes a special pen called Frixion. It’s an erasable pen.



I know what you’re thinking, where’s the secret message in an erasable pen? Here’s what you do:


  1. Take some scrapbooking, post-it notes, or other decorative slips of paper.
  1. Using your Frixion pen, write on your pieces of paper short tidbits of info such as fun facts, quotes, riddles, jokes


  1. Erase the little tidbits that you write. Now your message has not only disappeared because of your fine erasing skills but believe it or not the message is still there.


4. To decode or rediscover your message, head to the freezer. Place your message in the freezer for a couple of minutes, and the ink reappears to reveal your message.


More “DE-CODED” Fun


When I was a child, my father would send us secret messages by scribbling over the top of the message with red ink and supplying us with a red filter to have on hand so we could hold it over our “secret” message and have it thereby decoded.


I’ve learned that people decoding messages get hungry, so why not combine both efforts together?


Here is a tasty sugar cookie treat with a red candy melted center which will have you decoding a bevy of coded messages as well as finding a little sustenance too.

“I Spy” Decoder Cookies



  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Red Lifesavers crushed to fine pieces


  1. Preheat your oven to 350
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mix-master such as a kitchen
  3. Add vanilla and then the eggs one at a time beating until
  4. In a separate bowl add the flour, salt, soda, and baking powder together.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients
  6. Alternately add the flour to the butter mixture and then add the Keep adding the flour and milk alternately until the dough is smooth.
  7. Refrigerate the dough for 1 to 2 hours. Until the dough is


Prepare your baking sheets using foil instead of parchment paper. Spray the foil with cooking spray. The reason we’re using foil is when the candy in the center melts, it also likes to stick. If you use parchment paper, I promise the candy will stick to the paper. Using the foil lets it come right off.


After your dough has chilled and is stiff, divide your dough into thirds. On a floured surface roll out 1/3 of the dough to a 1/4” thickness. Using a 4-inch cookie cutter of any shape cut out your cookies and place them one inch apart on your foil-lined cookie sheet. Using a smaller cookie cutter of the same shape, cut out the center portion of your cookies and remove the dough. Carefully fill the center of each cooking with crushed red lifesavers.


Bake 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are golden brown. You must cool the cookies completely before removing them from the cookie sheet. Be sure to store these in an airtight container or they become soggy.


Message Writing

Write your secret message or clue on white paper if you’re doing a treasure hunt in a light-blue fine-point marker. Using red, orange, pink, and purple markers, scribble and doodle all over the rest of your paper and on top of your secret message. Place your decoder cookie on top of your paper and the message comes through loud and clear while your doodles completely disappear.


Have fun!






Making reading an adventure and not a “task/ chore/requirement” is a great way to help them increase their desire to learn and keep them interested as well. But if you have reluctant readers in your home, that can just add another layer of stress to an already challenging routine.


BUT, The ABCs of BookJumping is an ebook filled with tried-n-true book-inspired activities that will keep kids engaged and curious for hours.


The ABC’s of BookJumping: The Best of Jump Into a Book by Valarie Budayr and Rebecca Flansburg allows frustrated parents of reluctant readers to enjoy hand-picked book reviews and unique companion activities that will reignite your child\’s love of reading and encourage screen-free family time.


What if you could “live” inside the pages of the children’s books your family reads? What if you could enjoy the same adventures as the characters?


Bookjumping is taking the solitary act of reading a book and transforming it into an event that can be shared with others. It\’s the process of pulling books off shelves and stories off pages.


It’s making picture books come ALIVE by “jumping” inside the pages with activities and learning opportunities.


Readers of this ebook will enjoy hand-picked book reviews and unique companion activities that will reignite your child\’s love of reading and encourage screen-free family time.


“This fun picture-book-based e-book contains over 150 hand-picked book reviews, unique book-inspired activities, and recipes. Just in time for #summer reading!” Amazon reviewer


We purposely made this book an ebook for the “portability factor” and affordable to fit every budget and family need.


Go here for more details on what you can expect from with awesome ebook and learn more about the authors.

Grab your copy of The ABCs of BookJumping: The Best of Jump Into a Book on Kindle HERE.


summer reading for reluctant readers\ summer reading for reluctant readers

Happy Reading!