This game is ideally played as a family or group consisting of children and adults. Make sure children are supervised during all parts of play. Happy New Year!
New Year’s Eve this year is going to look different. It has been quite a year. I wanted to plan something special for my kids this year that I knew they would enjoy. I created this escape room for New Year’s Eve and am sharing it with you, for free, for families like mine, who are looking for something special to do with kids in your own home during the holiday.
We have done several escape rooms at home over the years. These escape room puzzles are a little bit different. You don’t need any special supplies. No locks. No special boxes. Just print the puzzles, spend 5 minutes preparing and setting up, and you are ready to go.
This New Year’s Eve escape room is a great way to do something different, inexpensive, fun and make memories as you do it.
One thing that is different with this escape room, is that it does not take place in one room. It is more of an escape house. Players are challenged to explore and solve clues that will have them active and looking from one end of your home to the other.
I have tried to make each of the escape room puzzles work for any house. You simply place the clue in the correct location and that’s all. The clues lead to things like a bed, a kitchen table, a fridge, closet, television, mirror, couch and front door. Finish off with a certificate of completion (included with printables).
We decided not to wait until New Year’s Eve to do the escape room, so my kids have already tried it out, but they loved it and it was so much fun watching them complete it, that I wanted to share it with you. (I may have to create another activity in the next few weeks for us to do another one together on New Year’s Eve!)
All of the escape room puzzles that you see below are available for you to download and print for free.
- Printer to Print the escape room puzzles
- Tape (Optional)
- Stickers (optional)
- Highlighters (optional)
Preparing the Escape Room Puzzles
If you using this escape room as a family, and working together, any age group will work. Younger children (under 6) will need some help working out and solving some of the puzzles, but will love being involved and looking for the clues.
Most of the escape room puzzles could be completed independently by kids over 8 and in less than one hour. You can choose how to run the escape room in your house. Working together as a group/family is always a great choice.
Preparing Your Escape Room
There are a collection of 7 pages of escape room puzzles as well as a certificate. To start, print off all of the pages.
For most of the clues, you simply print them and hide them. The only additional prep you need to do is for the 3 pages below.
You will need to cut out the second “fridge clue” on the dotted line and then fold it. It will fold into an envelope shape. I added a sticker to the front to keep it closed, but you don’t need to. You will be adding another clue into this escape room puzzle, so make sure not to seal it up before you have prepared all of the printables.
For the puzzle clue, simply cut out each of the pieces.
The final clue you need to prepare requires you to cut out the circles and other clue pieces on the page (with the dotted lines). The rectangle with the K goes inside the fridge envelope clue (shown above). This “K” clue is used later.
Escape Room Steps
When setting up the room, simply have all of your puzzles printed and ready, and then read through the steps below, and hide the puzzle in the correct spot in your home. If you don’t have one of the clue locations, you can simply place the puzzle to something similar to it in your house – or print off a picture from online of the actual object/location and tape the picture somewhere in your house.
Clue # 1
The first clue can be taped to a door for players to find when they come home, or it can simply be given to players to initiate the start of the escape room.
As soon as players have read the first clue, set the timer for 60 minutes because your escape room (house) has begun! 60 minutes should be enough that players should be able to complete the escape room. If you have an older group of people playing, you can always give less time. My kids (ages 8 and 10) finished in just under 45 minutes.
(Make sure to keep the escape room fun for kids by letting them know that the they are not actually locked in and nothing bad happens if they don’t solve all of the puzzles in under an hour.)
After reading the first clue, it suggests to read the letters at the bottom in a mirror. When reflected in the mirror, the message becomes clear – “Look Under the Bed”.
Race to check under all of the beds!
If you have young children playing, you can simply set the clue under a bed. If you have older kids playing you can make the game more challenging by hiding the clue tucked under the bed frame or hidden under the bed, but out of view. Where ever you put it just make sure that kids can find it and get it out safely.
After finding the clue, you open it and find a short message and the clue unfolds to look like a fridge. But wait… there is also another clue in the “fridge”. There is a card that has a picture of a child = K.
You run to check the fridge. But what is the “K” clue mean? Are you looking for something that starts with the letter K in the fridge? Finally, you find your next escape room puzzle. Hang onto the K clue. You will need it later.
You open the puzzle that you found in the fridge. There are directions that you need to follow. Each direction will lead you to stop on a letter. Keep track of each letter you stop on. Together these letters will lead you to your next clue.
When complete, the puzzle letters spell out, “CHECK THE CLOSET”.
Quickly run and check all of the closets around the house.
This is where my kids got stuck. They ran to check their closets and all of the closets upstairs, but forgot about our front hall closet with jackets. So they checked through every piece of clothing in their closets looking for a clue, but couldn’t find anything. Finally they realized the one closet they had forgotten about, and quickly found their next escape room puzzle.
For this escape room puzzle, each letter of the alphabet has a picture associated with it. Match each of the pictures from the highlighted bottom section to a letter.
You have solved your puzzle! Run to the couch!
Behind the couch, you find a bag with a bunch of puzzle pieces. You quickly empty the bag and begin putting the puzzle together.
I put the puzzle pieces into a small baggie in order to keep them all together.
Once together, your puzzle will tell you to “Carefully Look Beside the T.V.”
Since kids may be running around to solve their escape room, take extra caution to put this clue in a safe spot beside the t.v. or somewhere safe near your t.v. As with all activities with kids, make sure to supervise while doing this escape room.
I simply taped the next clue beside the t.v.
There is a circle with letters and another circle with pictures as well as a code to solve. You remember the “K” clue that you found previously under the bed.
Use the “K” clue to match the letter K on the circle to the child with the yellow party hat.
Once you line up the letter K, all of the other letters are properly matched with the picture they go with. Use this circle code to match all of the pictures to letters, to spell out “KITCHEN TABLE”.
Quickly go and check under the kitchen table. Taped to the underside of the table you find your next escape room puzzle.
It looks like a simple word search. As you find the words, you notice that there are some letters not circled. Starting in the top left corner, you print all of the letters that are not circled. In order they spell out, “YOU ARE ALMOST DONE CHECK THE FRONT DOOR TO ESCAPE HAVE FUN”.
The Final Escape!
You rush to the front door! There is a box waiting for you! You did it! You escaped!
There are lots of options for what you can put inside the box. You could put a small treat or gift. When we did the escape room (before New Year’s Eve) I simply put a note saying that we were going to watch a special holiday movie together that night.
Another option for your final, “front door” clue is to simply have the completion certificates printed and filled out for all of the players. These are included in the printable package.
Another great option to put inside the box are any party decorations that you plan on using for New Years. Completing the escape room and finding the decorations, noise makers and other fun party stuff in the box is a great (and easy) way to kick off your party!
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To Download the Printables
Are you ready to get your escape room started? Click on the box below to take you to the top of this page to enter your email address and subscribe (or scroll to the bottom of this page if you are on a mobile). Once you subscribe, check your email and you will find a confirmation email from me with a link to the printables used in the above New Year’s Eve activity.
(Check your junk/spam folder, just in case and make sure to add Hands-On Teaching Ideas to your address book so that future emails and freebies from me don’t end up in spam/junk).
Also, by subscribing, you will be notified of all of my new escape rooms and hands-on activities for kids and more freebies, like this one!
More Escape Room Ideas for New Year’s Eve
Since many of us are spending New Years at home, perhaps not with family or friends that we would typically see, this escape room could be played simultaneously at two households. You could race another family and both be in your own homes over the internet. Simply send them the link to this activity and they can print and get everything ready at their house.
A big part of the excitement is finding the next clue within each clue. If you have a group of children who would be keen to solve the puzzles on their own, you can add another element to your escape room by printing off the clues that require extra solving, such as the word search, for each player. All players would then be required to solve the puzzle before everyone could move on as a group.
Although this escape room centered around a New Year’s Eve theme, it can be done at any time!
I hope that you, and your family, enjoy a wonderful New Year’s Eve and I wish you all the best in 2021!
Looking for More?
If you are looking for more activities to do with kids at home, take a peek at some of our favourite hands-on activities, for home or school!