Escape rooms offer exciting challenges that are heart racing and fun. They encourage children’s problem solving skills with code cracking, clue solving and calculations to be made.
As a family we have visited a few escape rooms and the children really enjoyed the mystery and challenges that were involved in finding the clues to escape the room. They are brilliant activities for families that help to combine your skills and work as a team.
What are escape rooms?
An Escape Room is a physical and cognitive activity where you have to find clues and solve puzzles to escape from a room. It might involve padlocks, keypads, physical, mathematical and literacy problems to solve and many more. As you enter the room you are set a time limit where you need to complete the puzzles and solve clues to reveal combinations to unlock padlocks. Some rooms create an immersive experience with music and sound effects. Some may have a background story to escaping and others may just be about puzzles. Many escape rooms offer props to use in order to solve the puzzles, but also help to get you into the mood of escaping the room.
Setting up the escape room
I would like to say that it was easy, but it took me some time to think up some of the clues to use. I took to pinterest and facebook for some inspiration. Pinterest is ideal for discovering new ideas.
I first bought some padlocks, I went for number and letter combination ones.
I didn’t really want to lock the boys into a room (plus none of my rooms have locks on them) So I decided on using a box with the locks on them instead. The idea being that once they found the clues to the locks they would open up the box and find a key inside which would then unlock the back door.
I decided on not going for a back story or a theme just because my head hurt with putting it all together. But, I did tell them that they had an hour to escape in the back garden otherwise they wouldn’t get to do an Easter Egg hunt. I also told them that they had to work together to solve the clues and that they would have to run around the house to look for the clues.
I placed the box on the table along with three envelopes; each containing a clue.
They quickly realised that the first clue was in a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book so they ran upstairs to their bookshelf to search for the book. Once they found them they then had to look inside to find the next clue, which was a piece of paper with holes cut out. The boys first thought that it was a dot to dot. So I gave them a clue to take it to the first piece of paper. The holes were numbered and they had to line up the paper with the words underneath, following the numbers to reveal a hidden message.
“The first clue is in the fridge”
Racing to raid the fridge, not sure what they were looking for. They soon found that the small puzzle box was out of place.
The boys had to solve the puzzle, but it wasn’t as easy as you would think! The puzzle had a message written on the back of it, so it had to be solved back to front. They used the picture on the box as a guide, flipping over the pieces to the opposite side. This was tricky, but working together they managed to solve it.
The puzzle revealed a riddle. The boys love a good riddle so I thought they would like this clue. In fact it was too easy for them, straight away they said ‘Book’!
Back upstairs to the book shelf they went, having no idea what book they were looking for. I told them that maybe the puzzle was a clue to the book that they needed to search for. Finding two Cars books, inside one was some mathematical questions for them to solve in order to get the combination of the first lock.
This proved to be a little tricky for the boys and they then began to become competitive against each other losing the momentum of the good team work that they had been producing prior to this clue. Eventually
after some arguments ,they solved the clues and had their first lock released.
Inside the next envelope the boys came across a letter that said
“To work out the this clue, you need to read between the lines”
Inside the envelope was a letter, an UV pen and some rune symbols.
The boys had to figure out that they needed to use the UV light that was on the end of the pen to find the hidden sentence – To read between the lines.
I had hidden balloons around the house, with pieces of paper inside them. they had to pop the balloons to reveal the next part of the clue.
Some of the balloons had clues in them and some didn’t. This was lots of fun running around the house searching for the balloons and popping them.
I had written three riddles with number words in them, each number word had a number about it, this was the order that they had to use to unlock the next lock.
Using the rune symbols they had to solve the words and then place them into sentences. Each sentence was cut in half.
There are seven days in a week
Jak is nine years older than Oliver
A quarter of a day is six hours
Some of the runes represented a few letters, so they had to work out which letter would fit into the word.
They now had the next combination for the second lock
The last clue was inside envelope 3. This was a bit like a treasure hunt. I hidden Match Attax cards in certain areas within the house, solving the riddles the boy had to hunt them down. Once the found all of the cards they then had to place them in order of highest attack and using the first letter of the players surname would be what they would use in the letter combination lock.
Finally they had unlocked all of the keys on the box. Inside was the key to the back door.
Where they were treated to an Easter Egg hunt.
I loved seeing the boys excitement when they were doing the clues, running around and enjoying them self. I was hoping that this would help them to understand the benefits of team work and although there was a arguments between them, I think that it taught them a lesson of relying on each other for help.
I found it hard being creative and putting it all together to form some sort game but I do think that what i did create was rewarding and fun.
Let me know if you set one up at home and how you found it?