Escape rooms are a great activity to try with kids! They can include anything from complicated hands-on puzzles to simple print and play clues. I have done escape room puzzles at home, in my classroom, and even outdoors. They are always a lot of fun and can be as much fun to create as they are to play!
I love going to escape room buildings in my area and working to solve a new escape room game. However, escape rooms can be expensive and they tend to not be made for kids or families. In the post below you will find 7 DIY escape room puzzles that you can print and customize for your DIY escape room at home.
The seven escape room puzzles are generic templates. They do not have the numbers, words or clues on them. They are for you to print and make your own escape room puzzles with. To use them you can add in your bike lock combination or words and characters that match your escape room theme. You can even color the pages or add stickers that fit players interests.
Descriptions and examples of how to use each puzzle is included below.
I have tried to include escape room puzzles that are common to escape rooms, such as mazes and actual puzzles. I have also included a few more that are more unique, but have been a favorite in the rooms I have created.
You can print the escape room puzzles and use all of them to create a room, or you can use a few that you feel will fit your escape room best and incorporate them into your game. If you are looking for hands-on escape room ideas, check out my collection of over 40 escape room ideas.
How to Use the Escape Room Puzzles
One challenge that people often run into when making their own escape room is being able to use the puzzles to fit their needs and the materials they have. These templates will help.
For each of the puzzle templates below, I have included some ideas for how you could use them in your escape room. You can simply print the puzzles you are going to use and print and draw on your clues.
If you want to do an escape room without any prep of having to fill out templates, visit my shop filled with printable escape room games. Simply print, hide the clues and play. Visit my shop here.
When creating your clues, each puzzle must lead to the next. So the words you add to the puzzle will tell players where to look next for their next puzzle. The puzzle could also include numbers for a lock for players to unlock in the room.
As you create your escape room, you can use this template to help organize your escape room: How to Make an Escape Room
#1 Escape Room Puzzles
A puzzle is a classic escape room clue. The printable template includes 12 pieces of a puzzle. There are a few ways that you can use this printable for your escape room.
You can add words in each of the circles. The words can form a sentence or two that tell players where their next clue is. For example, you can print: For Your Next Clue Check The Largest Table In The Room And Look Underneath Go Fast!
Once players put the puzzle together, the clue will become clear and players will know to check the table. You can add any words that work for you.
Another option with the puzzle is to print words in each piece and then include a list of words to cross out. Once the players have crossed out the words, they will be left with the words that are the actual clue.
Another idea for this printable puzzle is printing your clues/words on each puzzle piece using a UV pen. When players shine the light onto the words, then the clue becomes clear. I used the UV pen and puzzle is this DIY escape room.
To see this puzzle clue used in an actual escape room, click here.
#2 Escape Room Puzzles – Match and Read
The next printable clue is a set of shapes. This is a simple clue, but it is really fun to include in an escape room.
There are two sets of shapes. One set has dotted lines around the outside, the other does not. On one set of shapes you can print numbers, or letters somewhere around the outside. One the other set, draw arrows to point to the numbers or letters you want to lead players to.
Add extra letters or numbers so that only the ones that the arrows point to are the ones that matter and spell out the clue.
One of the fun things about this escape room puzzle is that you can hide the four shapes in different spots around the escape room for players to find. For more directions on how to use this clue, check out this ‘Make Your Own Escape Room’.
#3 Escape Room Puzzles – Code Wheel
This printable puzzle is always a fun clue. Decide where this clue will lead players and choose twelve letters that together spell out a clue. Print each of the letters on the small (blank) code wheel.
Set the small wheel on the large wheel and decide which letter will match with each picture. Fill out the letter = picture small rectangle.
Next, on another sheet of paper, draw the picture/shape from the large circle associated with each letter for your clue.
Players will need to find both wheels and the code breaker rectangle in order to solve this full clue. For an example of how I have used this escape room puzzle in a game, click here.
#4 Escape Room Alphabet Puzzle
An alphabet puzzle is another classic escape room puzzle. Alphabet clues are great for kids of all ages, but are a fun clue even for young children. They can find and match pictures and letters in order to solve the clue.
The printable that I have included uses simple shapes and pictures for each letter of the alphabet. In the box at the bottom of the page, draw the picture associated with the letter to spell out your full clue.
This clue is similar to the last clue with the circles because it uses matching of pictures and words. Kids love these types of clues because they are fairly simple to solve and can make kids feel really successful.
I have used alphabet puzzles many times, including in my Classroom Escape Room.
#5 Escape Room Puzzle – Number Turn
Grab a paper towel roll for this clue! Print the rectangle and draw or print your clue across the page. You can draw a picture of where the next clue is located or print letters or numbers for a lock combination.
Once you have drawn your clue, cut the paper into strips along the dotted lines. Wrap the strips around the paper roll and tape them loosely around the roll. Players will turn the paper to match up the strips and decode the clue.
To make this clue harder, don’t attach the strips to the paper roll for players. You can hide the strips individually around the escape room. Players would need to find each of the strips and figure out how to place them in order to solve the clue.
To see this idea used in an escape room, click here.
#6 Escape Room Ideas – Word Search
A word search is another easy escape room puzzle that you can add to any escape room. There are a few ways that you can use a word search in your escape room.
You can create your list of words and print them in the box at the side of the sheet. Have players find the words and print your clue using the leftover letters. When you put the letters in the word search that are not part of a highlighted word together, they spell out the next clue.
It can be time consuming to create, but you can also make your puzzle so that players shade in all of the letters that are not part of a highlighted word. The shaded letters can also spell out a simple word.
My New Year’s Eve escape room shows a great example of a word search used in an escape room.
#7 Escape Room Puzzles – Pie Slice Puzzle
I used a similar pie slice puzzle clue in a DIY Escape Room at home. You can add some color to each of the slices and print a letter or number in each of the little circles on each slice to spell out your clue.
Cut out each of the slices and place them around the escape room. You can make the room even harder depending on how well you hide each slice. Once all six pieces are found and players put them together to create a full circle, the letters/numbers will appear in order.
You can add tape on the floor to create a spot to place each slice. You can also add a colored sticker to match each slice and help players put the slices in order when making their circle.
I hope that you find setting up your escape room easy and fun. The printable escape room puzzles can be used together to create one escape room or you can mix the printables with hands-on puzzles.
Generally five to seven puzzles will create an escape room that will last between thirty and sixty minutes. Depending on the players age and experience it may take longer, or shorter. You can increase the difficulty of an escape room by hiding the puzzle pieces in harder places. You can also make your room more interesting by using things like balloons to hide your clues in!
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Top 10 DIY Escape Rooms
If you are looking for even more ideas for escape rooms that you can create at home, or school, check out my list of my Top 10 Best DIY Escape Rooms for Kids.
Hands-On Teaching Ideas
Looking for more hands-on teaching ideas and learning activities? Check out some more ideas below. From escape room planning templates and free printables to unique escape room puzzles and escape rooms for the classroom, there is lots to keep kids busy and planning.