Best Kids Escape Room Challenge at Home


My kids have been asking me to create another escape room. With school ending and summer break just a few weeks away, I created a new Kids Escape Room Challenge that you can easily create at home. According to my kids, this escape room is the best one I have ever made!

This escape room is a little bit different then some of my other ones in that it is more challenging and includes more clues. Every escape room can be altered to fit any age group, but I would suggest a slightly older group for this escape room. Roughly over ten years old.

Kids escape rooms can be done by one child or a group of children. They are great for problem solving, thinking outside the box and critical thinking.

One thing that escape rooms have taught me as a parent, is sitting back and not immediately stepping in to help my kids when they first run into a problem is a very valuable thing.

Although my kids still sometimes get frustrated when they get stuck on a escape room puzzle, they now stop, look over their clues and they don’t give up. The feeling for them when they finally solve a clue is far more rewarding then if I step in and help them.

It also teaches children that when they run into something challenging, they need to look for another way to figure it out and giving up is not an option.

kids escape room pinterest pin

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Setting up Your Escape Room

The instructions below are all of the steps to solve each puzzle in the escape room. Each puzzle leads to a next puzzle. I don’t encourage players to simply search around the room for clues. When they enter the room, it is clear what they need to do first.

And as they solve a puzzle, it will be clear where they need to go next.

I typically give players one hour to complete the escape room. If you have younger players, you can offer a few hints along the way to help them move through the room. I often hear from people who have done some of my DIY escape rooms that they worked well for their whole family.

Children five to eighteen years old! It makes a great family night game or even something special for a birthday party.

The new kids escape room below includes a few puzzle pieces that I purchased for this escape room, and others that I have used in other escape rooms before. You can find links at the bottom of this post for the products to help you easily plan and create this escape room.

I also created a few of the puzzles and printed them off to use. These puzzles are available to you for free. Check the end of the the post for more information.

kids escape room collage of some of the puzzles

Kids Escape Room Tips

Every time I do a kids escape room there are always a puzzle, or two, that I know are going to be challenging. However, my kids often surprise me by what they get stumped on and what they solve in seconds/minutes. It is really interesting to watch.

They only time I intervene in the room is if players are somehow about to find a clue that they shouldn’t. For example, if players somehow stumble onto the final prize and it is not a locked puzzle, I will tell them that they have to find the clues leading up to it.

This is a nice feature of a DIY escape room – the room doesn’t have to be perfect. Sit with players as they work their way through the room and enjoy watching the excitement as they solve your hard work.

Each of the puzzles can be made easier, or harder. You can give hints as you feel necessary, or when players ask. But resist helping too much.

All escape rooms need to be supervised by an adult and all materials need to be placed in a safe location for players. Make sure to choose pieces that are appropriate for all ages of children doing the escape room. The room does not need to actually be locked.

So grab some locks, keys and (free) printable clues, and get your own kids escape room started!

Escape Room Materials

For this escape room, you will need the following materials. If you don’t have one of the items, or would rather use something else, check out my list of over 40 DIY hands-on escape room puzzle ideas here.

You will need:

  • 2 Treasure Boxes (Or any box that has a lid)
  • Combination Lock (Bike Lock)
  • Recordable Button
  • Free Printable Pages (Download for Free. Link below)
  • Sealable Bag (For the clay shapes)
  • Polymer Clay (Or free printable of the shapes)
  • A Collection of Keys
  • Labels
  • Picture Frame (With plexi glass or plastic front)
  • Construction Paper (Or free printable of circles)
  • Lock and Keys x 6
  • Mug
  • Color Changing Paper
  • Water Bottle (With ice water)
  • Container with 4 Boxes inside (Painted 4 colors)
  • Analog Clock
  • Completion Certificates (Free certificates available to subscribers)

Clue #1 Kids Escape Room

As players enter the room, there are a few items that stand out right away. Besides the regular things located around the room, a few things are visible on the bed right away. (I used a bedroom, but you can essentially use any room for yours).

There is a box locked with a combination bike lock, a button that says “Press Here” and a sheet of paper with what appears to be clues on it.

kids escape room shows a locked box on a bed with a button and sheet on top

Players start by pressing the button. The recording says:

“Welcome to your escape room. Take a quick look around at what is in the room. You will have one hour to solve all of the puzzles and escape. Start with the four colored shapes in the corner. In this escape room not everything is as it seems. Ms are Ss, Ls are Os, Fs are Cs, and Ts are Ks.”

The switching of letters does make the room more complicated, but it also adds a fun extra challenge throughout the room. You will see some clues that the words seem jumbled in the escape room and the letters have been switched. If you don’t want to make the room as complicated, do not include this extra puzzle.

Players will also notice a key taped to the bottom of the button, but no indication yet where to use the key.

escape room puzzles shows a button that says press me

Clue #2 Kids Escape Room Printable

This printable clue is available to subscribers for free in the resource library. A link to subscribe, and gain access can be found at the bottom of the post.

Players look at the printed page and notice the four colored shapes in the corners. Each of the shapes have a letter in them. Using the clue on the recording, they solve that M=S, L=O, F=C, T=K, which spells out SOCK.

free printable escape room shows a page of the printed clues
Free printable clue available below

Once players solve the 4 letter word puzzle, they race to the where socks are stored in the room.

If you are not doing the game in a bedroom, I have included a blank printable clue page that does not have the letters in the shapes. You can add your own four letters for a location in the room you are playing in.

Clue #3 The Sock Drawer

When players look in the sock drawer, they will find a rolled up grid on paper and locked bag filled. Players use the key that was taped to the bottom of the recorded button. Inside they find 12 colorful shapes.

escape room ideas shows a box with socks and a bag that's locked

Polymer clay is a great option for making the shapes. It is easy to create with and fun to use.

Players dump out the shape pieces and notice a number on the bottom of each. Looking at the printed page from the first clue, players begin to read each of the sentences that correlate to the pieces.

A printable page with pictures of each of these shapes are included with the printable grid and clues. These are all available from the free library. Link below.

escape room puzzles shows twelve colorful shapes
escape room puzzles shows the shapes with numbers on the bottom

Once all of the clues have been followed, players will have placed all of the pieces on the grid each in a specific spot. The printable page also tells which four pieces to look at for the combination for the lock. Turning the pieces over, players are given the code 2-1-6-4.

Top left corner. Bottom right corner. Third row, second column. Second row, fourth column.”

DIY escape room shows the shapes in a circle and the four numbers on the bottom of the special four
escape room puzzles shows the shapes on a grid
Clay + Grid solution

On the bottom of each piece is a number. The four numbers are the code to open the bike lock on the large box on the bed.

kids escape room shows a child doing the grid and shapes puzzle

Clue #4 The Collection of Keys

Players quickly open the box and discover a huge collection of beautiful keys! Attached to each key is also a label with a word. Together there are too many keys and words to make sense of the clue.

The amount of keys can be overwhelming to young players. You can add to the challenge by adding lots of keys, or make it easier by only adding a few.

Within the box there is also a page that, when decoded, says “Picture Frame”.

kids escape room shows a box with lots of bronze keys
A small label sticker with one word is printed and attached to each key.

Players look around the room and notice a poster on the wall with pictures of the same keys in the box. There must be some connection!

You can use as many keys as you want for your picture. I set the keys down and took a picture of the keys and did this four times so that I had four pages to put together. I printed each of the pages and taped them on the wall.

Studying the keys players don’t notice anything special about the poster or a way to connect the keys.

escape room puzzles show four pictures with keys

DIY escape room shows the four pages with the keys on the wall

Remembering the “Picture Frame” clue inside the box, players quickly start checking all of the picture frames in the room. Finally, you notice one with colorful circles in it. It looks like it’s connected to the game. You take a closer look at the picture frame.

Clue #5 Kids Escape Room – The Picture Frame

This clue really stumped one of my kids. I had spread out all of the circles so that all of the numbers were visible so they thought that the circles were the important part of the clue. The circles are not actually related to this particular clue. It is simply a bit of a red herring (distraction), that players need later.

escape room for kids shows a shelf with a clock and circle coded clues

If you want to add to the challenge, present the wheels in the puzzle the same way I have shown. However, you can simply place the wheels somewhere else in the room and make it a completely separate clue.

Make sure to use a frame with plastic or plexiglass. Do not use glass. Players need to open the frame. You can print “Open Me” to the back of the frame to help players. Or, to add to the challenge don’t give any hints and make players figure out to open it on their own.

Before realizing to open the frame, players tried holding it up to the picture of the keys and seeing if anything matched.

kids escape room shows a child lifting the frame to the key picture on the wall

Finally, upon opening the frame, players will notice some arrows drawn on the plastic glass.

The arrows are carefully placed, and drawn to point to specific keys on the pictures of the keys on the wall.

DIY escape room shows the frame with a green back and arrows

Players notice the corner of the plexiglass has an edge drawn and a circle in the top left corner. They also notice that there is the same mark on the printed pictures on the wall.

Lining them up, players notice that it seems to line up perfectly and the arrows each point to a specific key.

Kids escape room shows the plexi glass with arrows on it

Searching through the box with all of the keys, players find the six keys that the arrows point to on the glass. Players have to carefully look at the picture and then the key because the keys are each different, but they need to look closely to see some of the differences.

Clue #6 Escape Room for Kids – Key Photo

escape room ideas shows a child holding up the plexi glass on top of the keys on the wall

Finally players find the six keys from the printed page on the wall. Lining the six keys up, players unscramble and read the words. They say, “Check where you keep your books”.

kids escape room shows the box with six keys on top
You can add any combination of words on each label on the keys to tell players where to look next.
escape room for kids shows the words on the six keys for the clue

Clue #7 Escape Room Puzzles – The Mug

Players quickly run to their collection of books. Placed with their books, players find a locked treasure chest and a mug.

escape room for kids shows a treasure chest and mug

Inside the mug, a clue, slightly in code, says, “Check the appearing color.” So far this clue does not make sense. There must be something more and a key somewhere to get into the treasure chest.

kids escape room shows the mug

As they set the mug down, players notice a key taped to the bottom!

kids escape room shows the mug on its side with a key stuck to the bottom

Quickly players open the treasure chest!

Inside the chest is only another clue and another key!

DIY escape room shows an unlocked treasure chest

The clue, which is slightly scrambled again, reads, “Are you thirsty?” This must be talking about the mug. But the mug is empty. Players look around the room and notice a water bottle. Players pour the water into the mug and… nothing happens.

DIY escape room ideas shows a word clue with scrambled words

As players start looking around for what they have missed, the question mark slowly starts to change color. The transparent mark is now a bright blue!

Remembering the clue that read, “Check the appearing color”. Players search the room for a bright blue color.

escape room ideas shows the mug with a turning blue question mark
The question mark is a cut out of color changing paper. (Link below)

Clue #8 DIY Escape Room – The 4 Boxes

There is a similar blue on the box with four individual boxes in it. Each box is locked. Players try the key from the treasure box… and it opens!

Inside the blue box is a circle with three different colored rings on it.

escape room ideas shows a box with four colorful boxes inside all locked

This looks similar to the three circles that players found earlier.

Clue #9 Escape Room Clues – The Circles

Depending on the players experience with escape room puzzles, they may not know to stack the circles on top of each other. You can give this as a hint to help players or you can set them stacked when you put them in the frame, or other location you choose.

Stacking the three circles, players line up the blue on the bottom, then the yellow, and then the orange on top – like the clue circle from the bright blue box. When lined up, players read 547 or 745.

kids escape room shows four colorful circle clues

kids escape room shows the four circles with numbers on each

A blank copy of the three circles and code wheel are also available for free to print. Add your own time/numbers to each section of the circles or personalize them to your room. The numbers relate to a time on a clock. This can be challenging for children so if you want to make it easier, you can put a colon (the two dots to show time) beside the numbers on the top circle with numbers.

Players search the kids escape room for these numbers, but don’t see any more boxes or locks.

Clue #10 Kids Escape Room – The Clock

Finally, players notice the time on the clock. It reads, 7:45! That can’t be a coincidence.

Check all over the clock and you notice a note taped to the back!

DIY escape room shows a clock

The note is a congratulations for completing the room and successfully solving all of the puzzles!

A free printable certificate is also available from another free printable escape room. Click here to view the room, and certificate. A variety of certificates are available in the free library for you to choose from.

Great work on completing the kids escape room challenge!

Kids escape room shows the back of a clock with a you did it message

Alternate Room Ideas

When looking through the clues, if there is a clue that does not interest you or you simply can’t get the materials, you can always add, or take away a clue or two. That’s the great thing about DIY escape rooms is that they are customizable.

Enjoy your escape room and know that not every puzzle will go according to play. That’s okay! You can do a small fix on the spot as players are doing the room. Simply enjoy the experience and have fun!

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Top 10 DIY Escape Rooms

I’ve been making escape rooms for awhile now and am excited to share my list of my Top 10 Best DIY Escape Rooms. The list features the escape room you just read about above and 9 other ones that you can try out!

Kids Escape Rooms and DIY Escape Room Ideas

If you like the idea of creating an escape room or you have already create an escape room and want to try another one, I have lots of ideas, freebies and puzzles to give you inspiration!

From free printable escape rooms to super unique escape room puzzles to make any escape room special, there is lots to choose, and create with!

Printable Escape Rooms

Looking to try an escape room, but not wanting to buy special materials or spend the time setting it up? Try and Print and Play escape room. No locks, keys or special materials at all. Simply print, cut out a few pieces and hide them in simple designated spots.

Perfect for birthday parties, classroom use and themed days!

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