Here is our list of the best escape room ideas for kids.
Escape room ideas for kids are a collection of tips to help you create a fun DIY escape room game for a group of kids. Examples include hiding clues in hollowed-out books and coming up with secret codes. These activities aim to get kids thinking critically as they work together to solve the different challenges and escape the room.
This list includes:
- DIY escape room ideas for kids
- escape room ideas for classrooms
- printable escape room puzzles for kids
Here we go!
List of escape room ideas for kids
Escape rooms are an excellent way for kids to build critical thinking, conflict resolution, and social-emotional skills. Plus, there are many ways you can create an escape room that kids will enjoy. Here is our list of escape room ideas for kids, including pointers to help you make an unforgettable experience.
1. Choose key skills and focus areas.
If you are looking for escape room ideas for classrooms, first consider what skills you want students to build through this activity. For example, you could focus on knowledge-based skills like math, reading, or science. Or, target interpersonal skills, such as problem-solving, managing emotions, and effective communication.
One way to ensure a comprehensive experience is by using the escape room to help students develop a combination of skills. For example, you can begin the activity by having players conduct small science experiments, such as creating color-changing potions using baking soda and vinegar. Then, you can task players with decoding a secret message using a word key.
By incorporating different tasks and exercises like puzzles and activities, you help your students sharpen critical skills while having fun.
2. Devise secret spy codes.
Creating secret spy codes is a great way to get players thinking strategically as they progress through the escape room. To develop codes, first come up with an important message that you want players to uncover.
For example, “Your next clue is located where you eat dinner,” which would tell players to check the dinner table for their next clue. However, instead of simply writing the statement using normal letters, we recommend using a secret code that players must work together to decipher. For example, you can print out pictures of objects and instruct players to use the first letter of each word as the secret code.
Remember to get creative when coming up with your secret code! For example, consider substituting letters for numbers or using different drawings and symbols to correspond to each letter of the alphabet.
To make sure players can crack the code, you should hide an answer key in a different area of the room. Once players find the key, they can work together to uncover the secret message.
3. Create hidden balloon messages.
When it comes to DIY escape room ideas for kids, get creative when hiding clues and messages. By choosing innovative hiding places for your messages, you will keep the fun going.
Here are a few steps to create hidden balloon messages:
- Choose a word or message to spell out using the balloons. You can use a word like “window” to tell players where to find their next clue.
- Gather as many balloons as it takes to spell out your word. For “window,” you will need six balloons.
- Write each letter on a separate piece of paper.
- Place each paper into a separate balloon.
- Blow up each balloon and tie it shut.
- Hide the balloons all over the room.
Players should find balloons, pop them one by one, and put all of the words or letters together to get to the next clue. Once the team uncovers the hidden balloon message, they will know where to go for their next clue. You can make the task extra challenging by hiding balloons in tricky areas, like under the bed.
4. Hide secrets in hollowed-out books.
When planning your escape room clue hiding spots, do not be afraid to get messy! A creative way to stump players is by hollowing out books and using the inside as a space to hide hints and clues.
Books are unexpected hiding places, especially when empty in the middle. Without any kind of indication, it can be difficult for kids to even consider looking inside a book for a clue.
Given how difficult it can be for players to find your clue inside of a book, we recommend using this space to hide essential objects, such as the key to the escape room.
5. Write an inverted mirror letter.
If you are looking for fun printable escape room puzzles for kids, then we suggest using a page made up of inverted or backward letters. As part of this puzzle, players will need to hold the paper up to a mirror to read it correctly.
When it comes to the contents of the letter, you can include a background story to go with the theme of your escape room. For example, if you choose to host a spy-themed escape room, then you can use the inverted letter to explain the reasoning behind the mission and why players must escape the room.
Here is a suggestion on what you can write in your mirror letter with a secret spy theme:
“Dear super spy,
I hope this message reaches you and only you. I have left clues and items scattered throughout the room. I need you to pay close attention to solving each of my missions so you can escape the room in T-minus one hour. Can you do it?
Secret Agent 007”
By writing a secret letter readable only in front of a mirror, you will provide players with an extra layer of excitement, as well as a fun storytelling element. This inverted mirror letter activity will help kids build their problem-solving skills since players need to work together to strategize and decipher the letter.
6. Concoct your best riddles.
Riddles are great brain teasers for escape rooms. By incorporating riddles into your escape room clues while figuring out their next move.
Here are a few of our riddle suggestions for kids’ escape rooms:
- What has four legs up and down and is soft in the middle? Answer: a bed.
- What gets wet while it is drying? Answer: a towel.
- What has many keys but cannot open any locks? Answer: a piano.
Answering riddles requires a lot of thinking and creativity, making these word-based puzzles the perfect addition to any escape room.
7. Throw a few math problems into the mix.
If you are looking for escape room ideas for classrooms, then we recommend incorporating school subjects, like math, into your experience. For example, you can come up with a multiplication challenge that students need to solve to unlock a code.
To create a multiplication experiment, you can have students solve simple math problems, such as:
- 5 x 1 = ?
- 2 x 4 = ?
- 3 x 3 = ?
- 9 x 1 = ?
The answers to these multiplication problems will form a secret code, which students should use to open a hidden padlock in the room. We recommend hiding the padlock in the same place where the multiplication problems are hanging, so students know that the two clues go together.
You can also swap out this multiplication challenge with addition, subtraction, or division, depending on the grade level of your players. For example, instead of using multiplication problems, you can use addition problems for younger students.
8. Incorporate fun and educational science experiments.
Science experiments can be a fun and educational way to get young players to work together during exit games. For example, you can use the power of magnets when hiding your clues and keys.
To incorporate a magnetic science experiment into your escape room, you will need a glass jar, water, a magnet, and a key. You should follow these steps to set up the science experiment:
- Fill a glass jar with water and place a key in the water.
- Secure the jar shut with a lid.
- Cut out a small opening on the lid that is just large enough for the key to fit.
- Place a magnet near your setup so players know they need to use it.
To solve the puzzle, students will need to drag the magnet along the glass jar, which will help the key move until it reaches the jar’s surface. From there, players should be able to pass the key through the small opening on the lid, completing the experiment.
Here are a few more suggestions for science experiments that you can incorporate into your escape room:
- Baking soda rocket
- Baking soda volcano
- Chain reaction
- Invisible ink messages
Science experiments are a great way to get kids to learn as they participate in a fun and exciting escape room experience.
9. Hide clues in out-of-reach places.
If you are looking for ways to trick your players, then consider hiding clues in hard-to-reach places. Do not be afraid to place clues that are out of reach. You can use tools to help kids reach the clues.
For example, you can hide a red balloon that says, “Pop me,” on top of a high bookshelf or window ledge. Then, nearby, hide a tool to help kids reach and pop the balloon, such as a long hook or hanger.
We recommend hanging up enough warning signs throughout the area, so players do not injure themselves trying to grab a hard-to-reach item. Instead, players should use the tools they can find in the surrounding area.
10. Color-code your clues.
One of the best DIY escape room ideas for kids is to color code clues. For example, we recommend printing out and hanging up a picture that has the following shapes and colors:
- 2 red circles
- 6 blue circles
- 3 yellow circles
- 5 green circles
At first, players might think this picture is just a simple decoration or art. After some critical thinking, however, students should be able to tell that the specific numbers actually form a secret code.
For example, if there are two red circles, then the first number in your code is two. If there are six blue circles, then the second number in your code is six. If there are three yellow circles, then the third number in your code is three. Lastly, if there are five green circles, then the fourth number in your code is five. As a result, the secret code based on your color-coded picture would be 2635.
After cracking the code, players should use this secret code to open a nearby combination lock. Inside, you can hide another clue leading them to the next task, such as, “The next clue is hidden where you exit your home,” which is a clue that would guide participants to the home’s back door.
11. Surprise players with talking animals.
Stuffed animals are a fun decorative touch to add to your escape room for children. But, while the stuffed animals may look like decorative elements, you can stump players by hiding valuable clues inside the toys.
If you have a stuffed animal with an opening in the back, you can hide a voice-recorded message inside the plush. All you need is a recordable button. If you cannot hide the button inside one of the stuffed animals, you can simply tape the button on top of one. You can also buy recordable stuffed animals.
If you are thinking of clues to record in your message, consider recording, “Tidy up the messiest area of the room.” Once players clean up the messy area, they will come across their next clue.
12. Have fun with glow-in-the-dark paint.
Glow-in-the-dark paint can add an extra spooky and creative element to your escape room experience. All kids need to do is turn off the lights to see a hidden clue.
One suggestion of a clue is to write out a four-digit code on the room’s ceiling using glow-in-the-dark paint. The four-digit code can hint for players to unlock a specific box or lock.
When using glow-in-the-dark paint, you should remember that the paint will not come off your walls. As a result, ensure that it is okay to paint in that area. Or, hang a painted poster instead.
Escape rooms can keep kids engaged, entertained, and having fun. These games are an excellent way for kids to build essential skills, such as conflict resolution, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Escape rooms also require a lot of teamwork, which can help kids develop their social and emotional skills as they work with others to escape from the room. When planning an escape room for kids, remember to make the experience fun, engaging, and memorable.
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