Kim’s Korner: Stars, Fingerprints & Decoding

By Kimberly Jenkins -

Forensics 101: Leave a fingerprint

Printable Secret Decoder Wheel – Attention all secret agents!

The hunt was on for my column this week, as I wanted to do something that was not so serious as my last column and give you something to do. This week, I have a few new things I found at one of my favorite sites, The title of this one: 20 Fun Learning Activities for Kids to Enjoy at Home

One of the first things that caught my eye was a photo that showed constellations being made from beads and pipe cleaners. This one has a download to assist you while you and your child can make all of these.

‘Lots of classrooms make students create dioramas of the solar system, but what about mapping out other celestial bodies? This activity uses pipe cleaners and beads to give kids a hands-on way to learn how stars connect to form different constellations. Get the tutorial at 123 Homeschool 4 Me.’

The next thing I liked was: Printable Secret Decoder Wheel – Attention all secret agents! Your secret decoder wheel has arrived and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to send and receive secret messages to your friends without anyone being the wiser. No one will be able to decode your messages unless they have the secret key.

This is a super fun play activity for kids but also a useful resource for teachers, homeschoolers and parents. The secret decoder wheels could easily be used for math skills, spelling practice, writing activities, word work and more. They are also great for secret agent spy birthday theme parties or a secret treasure hunt. Think of all the possibilities! Everything you need to make and learn how to make the decoder wheel is directed to:

Following that one on the goodhousekeeping site was, Forensics 101: Leave a fingerprint on a drinking glass — ita helps if your fingers are a little greasy, so pizza night is the perfect time to try this out — then have your kids use flour and a paintbrush to “dust” the glass for prints. You can even try to “lift” the fingerprint with a piece of tape and transfer it to a piece of construction paper. You can talk about the common patterns found in fingerprints, and how prints are used by law enforcement.

No two fingerprints are the same. Find out what kind you have!

Materials: Non-toxic ink pad, Light-colored balloon (you also can use paper), Magnifying glass (optional)

Directions: Roll your finger from side to side in the ink pad. Press your finger, flatly and firmly, on the deflated balloon. Lift your finger off without smudging the ink. Blow up the balloon.

Examine the ridges of your fingerprint, which has expanded on the balloon. You can use a magnifying glass to get a better look. Compare your fingerprint to the examples below to see if you have a loop, whorl, or arch. You will want to go to the following link to view photos of the following descriptions of fingerprints at Fingerprints – Museum of Science and Industry (

Loop -The loop is the most common type of fingerprint. The ridges form elongated loops. Some people have double loop fingerprints, where the ridges make a curvy S shape.

Whorl -In a whorl fingerprint, the ridges form a circular pattern.

Arch -Arch fingerprints have ridges that form a hill. Some arches look like they have a pointed tent shape. Arches are the least common type of fingerprint.

Extension -Make prints for all your fingers. Do you have the same type of fingerprints on each finger? Are any of your fingerprints hard to identify? Visit the FBI kids’ website for information, games and activities.

Background information -Your fingerprints are unique. No two are the same, not even on the same person or on identical twins. Not only do your fingerprints help to identify you, but the patterns made of tiny ridges in your skin that help you to hold on to things. Sweat and oil from your hands leave behind a copy of your fingerprints when you touch objects.

Also, while doing research on the coronavirus, I found some fun things on the CDC website:

If you’re looking for additional at-home learning options beyond regular schoolwork, collaborate with your child’s teacher or other families to brainstorm creative learning opportunities that meet the needs and interests of children in different age groups in your household while keeping everyone safe from COVID-19 (e.g., virtual fieldtrips, virtual college visits, at-home activity ideas).

Consider hands-on activities, like puzzles, painting, drawing, and making things to supplement online learning activities and reduce screen time.

Independent play can also be used in place of structured learning or used as a reward when your child completes a challenging structured learning activity or task.

Practice handwriting and grammar by writing letters to friends and family members. This is a great way to help your child feel connected to others without face-to-face contact.

Consider starting a journal with your child to document this time and discuss the shared experiences, challenges, and memories.

See if your local library is hosting virtual or live-streamed reading events, and encourage your child to explore available audiobooks or e-books that they can read for fun.

Let me know any ideas you have or what you would like to see and I’ll get right on it for you. Email me at

Remember to be kind to each other and continue to set a good example for our children. See you next week with new ideas and ways to help your children.

Forensics 101: Leave a fingerprint 101: Leave a fingerprint

Printable Secret Decoder Wheel – Attention all secret agents! Secret Decoder Wheel – Attention all secret agents!

By Kimberly Jenkins

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights