If you love the idea of escape rooms, but are not sure where to start to create your own, printable escape rooms are a great option. I have created a collection of print and play escape rooms, from Camping and Dinosaurs to Outdoor Scavenger Hunt and Party themed, there are lots to choose from.
But how do they work?
This posts describes what printable escape rooms are and how simple they are to set up. There is very little prep work involved. You don’t need to create anything or purchase keys or locks or anything beyond the printable product. This means you can print and play within minutes!
Best of all, these printable escape rooms are created specifically for kids!
Perfect for rainy days, weekends, special occasions, homeschooling, camping, classroom use and much more! Escape rooms are a great way to encourage problem solving, critical thinking, and team work.
Most of the printable escape rooms also encourage math and language skills as children work to solve the puzzles.
If you are looking to create your own escape room, and make each of the puzzles, there are links at the bottom of this post for ideas and over 40 hands-on puzzle ideas.
As with all escape rooms, make sure children are always supervised. Use puzzles that are age appropriate, safe and placed in a locations that are safe for the children doing the escape room.
Setting Up a Printable Escape Room
The example below is from my new “Outdoor Escape Room”. In the printable, you receive all of the puzzle pages to print as well as 2 pages of set up instructions (with pictures for ideas) and 2 pages of solutions/answers. Everything you need is included.
Once you have printed the pages, you will use the Set Up pages to guide you though how to set up your escape room.
For the escape room example below, it is more of an escape yard because it is done outside. Some of the printable escape rooms are intended to be done inside, others are outdoors. Use one that works for you!
With most of the puzzle pages, you simply print and then hide the page in a specific location. The prep involved in some of the puzzles is generally simply cutting a clue before hiding it.
Below is a basic description of what my printable escape rooms look like and a general idea of how they work.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Escape Room Example
All of the locations to hide the puzzles are places/things that are commonly found in most yards, such as a tree and a place to sit. In the description of each printable escape room, the locations for the puzzles are listed.
Your locations don’t have to be exactly the same as the examples I suggest. For example, if you only have a shrub in your backyard, and not a tree, you can hide your clue around the shrub.
Part of the fun of an escape room for players is using each clue to figure out where to look for the next clue based on what they are surrounded by. Part of the challenge is when the clues are not perfect.
Hiding Your Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Puzzles
For this outdoor scavenger hunt escape room, the puzzle locations are:
- A Tree
- A Rock
- A Chair/Bench or Something to Sit on
- A Fence
- An Adult (A puzzle directs players to check an adult for their next clue)
- Something not usually found outside (use any item from inside that would be unusual to find outside such as a stuffed animal, a banana, a board game etc.) I used foam dice.
This outdoor scavenger hunt escape room can also easily be done in a larger outdoor space, such as at school. As long as you have the locations listed above (or something similar) the escape room will work.
Once players solve a puzzle correctly, the puzzle will lead them to the location of their next clue in the yard.
A basic example of how the clues work is the leaf hunt puzzle (shown above). Players are lead to a tree with a puzzle board sheet that has 9 pictures of leaves. Below each picture is a description of where the next clue is, such as “Check something that is not usually found outside.”
Players must search the tree for pictures of the 9 leaves on the puzzle board sheet. However, only 8 leaf pictures are hidden in the tree. Once players match and find the one leaf without a match, they then read the clue/description for where to go for their next puzzle.
Printable Escape Room Details
The difficulty of the clues for printable escape rooms vary; however, I have had children from as young as 5 up to 12 years old successfully play and complete the game. Younger children may need help with some of the clues and reading, but they can help solve matching puzzles and searching for clues. It serves as a great introduction to escape rooms and puzzles – and they will have fun!
I generally give my kids 1 hour to complete their printable escape room. If your kids have never done an escape room before, it may take more than an hour. If players are older, or working in a group, they will likely take less time.
You can have several different groups working on the puzzles, such as at a summer camp or school. If you are using the puzzles over and over you can laminate the pages so that they can be used many times.
With all of the printable escape rooms, there is a certificate included that can be filled out for players for completing the escape room. I also love to include a little prize at the end for players to find.
For our outdoor scavenger hunt escape room, I had popsicles for my kids to enjoy. Small prizes like bubbles, water balloons or a treat also add to the excitement and can lead into another outdoor activity for kids.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Printable
To view the Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Escape Room described in this post or to purchase, click the image below.
Printable Escape Rooms
Below are all of my printable escape rooms currently available. If you spend over $10 you can use the code save10 and save 10%. Click image for full product description.
More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you are looking for more learning activities to do at home, or in the classroom, below is a collection of my favourite and most popular activities. From DIY escape rooms and outdoor learning activities to science experiments for kids and STEM building activities, there is lots to keep kids busy and learning.