If you’re looking for an exciting way to fill an hour with kids at home or school, try an escape room! Escape rooms are very popular right now, and for good reason. They are a great learning experience for children, promote problem solving skills and teach team work and collaboration. Plus, escape rooms are hands-on, fun and easier to create then you may think.
A few years ago I went to a local escape room and I loved it! When I told my kids about it they were so engaged when hearing about each clue and how we found and solved it, that I created an escape room for them to try. I used materials that we had at home and turned them into puzzles for them to solve.
They loved it and, as a teacher, I saw all the benefits that escape rooms offer. Children learn that they won’t be able to immediately solve every problem they encounter.
Sometimes they will get stuck on a puzzle and need to try different strategies to solve it. If they give up right away, they won’t ‘escape’ the room. Children find different ways to think outside the box.
Over the years we have done several escape rooms and my kids even like to create their own for me! I have reached the point that I have a collection of Top 10 Best DIY Escape Rooms for Kids and I am so excited to share it with you!
Choosing Your Escape Room
These are all escape rooms that I have created and personally tried out with my children, or students at school. My kids chose the order for the escape rooms that they liked best. Take a look through the escape rooms, and find one that includes clues that you think your players/kids would like best.
Some of the escape rooms include free printable puzzles that are all available in my Free Resource Library. A link and more information is included at the bottom of the post.
One of the great things about escape rooms is that you can take a clue that you like from one escape room and add it to another escape room. You can also mix and match from the collection below. You could even make a longer, more challenging escape room by combining two escape rooms together.
40+ Escape Room Ideas
As you look through the Escape Rooms, think about puzzles and clues that you want to use. You can use a combination of puzzles from the different escape rooms.
If you are looking for more hands-on puzzles to add, simply ideas for a puzzle or two, or to use in place of one featured in one of the top ten escape rooms below, this collection of 40+ escape room puzzles is full of ideas.
I am proud to share with you my Top 10 Best DIY Escape Rooms for Kids! These are our favorites over years of creating escape rooms. Click the link below the images for each escape room to read a full description to be able to plan your room.
Make sure to supervise players during escape rooms. Use materials that are safe and placed in a safe location for all players.
Setting Up Your Escape Rooms
Once you have decided to create an escape room, try following the steps below to help organize your planning.
- Pick an escape room from the Top 10 list below.
- Collect/purchase the materials you need (Links are provided at the bottom of this post to make shopping easier!)
- Prepare the puzzles/materials.
- Pick a room to do the escape room in.
- Set up the puzzles around the room.
- Let players explore, solve and escape.
A few tips and things to keep in mind when creating escape rooms:
- Rooms can be solved by an individual or a group.
- Clues can often be made easier or more challenging simply depending on where it is hidden in the room.
- One hour is the typical length of time given to complete a room, but you can alter it depending on players age/abilities.
- Each clue typically tells players where to find their next clue.
- You can offer clues during the game if you choose, or specify how many clues you can give at the beginning. i.e. “You will be allowed for ask for a clue three times during your game.”
- Playing music/ a timer in the background is a fun special effect.
- Completion certificates are a fun way to give players something to take home and remember their experience by. Free ones are available through Hands-On Teaching Ideas. Link at bottom.
#1 Kids Escape Room
The first escape room is also my latest escape room. This escape room is a bit more challenging then some of the others and tends to take players a bit longer. However, the clues are really exciting and the game flows well from clue to clue.
Free printables are available for this kids escape room. Players race through clues that include a color changing message on a mug, a huge collection of keys and secret puzzles hidden with other puzzles.
This kids escape room is my most recent escape room, but it is also my kids favorite. This escape room and all of its puzzles took my kids just under an hour to solve. The clues are more challenging then past escape rooms and the clues take longer to solve.
This escape room also includes a few unique clues that took awhile for my kids to solve because they had never seen anything like them before.
My favorite clue within this escape room is a picture frame that has arrows drawn on the plexi glass in the frame. The whole picture frame has to be taken apart and the plexi glass removed and held up to an image on the wall in order to solve the clue. It is very exciting to watch kids figure this out!
#2 Escape Room for Kids
The next escape room is the very first escape room that I ever created. It was memorable for my kids and remains one of their favorites. In my opinion this escape room uses many classic escape room clues and is a great escape room to start with if you have never done an escape room before.
When players enter the room there is a laptop with a note typed on it as well as a balloon with the words “Pop Me”. I like using riddles and rhymes when I create escape rooms. It adds to the challenge because players have to decode the words to figure out what the words are implying.
The escape room even includes a key hidden inside a book!
The room also includes a simple welcome letter and one of my all time favorite clues! I used UV pens to write a note. On its own it doesn’t look like there is anything written on the sheet of paper, but when players find the UV pen and shine it on the page, a clue appears!
The first time players use a UV pen it is very exciting!
#3 Make Your Own Escape Room
The next escape room is one that is a great place to start if you have never done an escape room before. The printable puzzles that are part of the “Make Your Own Escape Room” are included in Hands-On Teaching Ideas Free Resource Library.
You can quickly print the pages and prepare them for your escape room. This will save you time and money when making your room.
Beyond the printable puzzles, this escape room also includes simple, easy to make puzzles using popsicle sticks, play dough and paper rolls. The clues are hands-on and require a variety of problem solving skills to complete the room.
Number codes are common in escape rooms. They are often used for combination locks and other puzzles. The twistable number code within this escape room can include a three digit number code, or it can include three pictures that have to be lined up to make sense.
If pictures are used, the pictures can tell players either an order to look for the next clue or the combination on a picture lock.
#4 DIY Escape Room for Kids
The fourth DIY escape room includes a combination of (free) printable clues as well as hands-on clues. The room is great for young children and is fairly fast to set up.
When I created this escape room, I was inspired by a recordable button. I was able to record a clue and hide it inside of a stuffed animal. It took awhile for players to figure out that the clue was inside an ordinary toy, but it was so exciting when they touched on the animal and it started talking!
Another fun part of this escape room, that anyone who loves puzzles or has done escape rooms before would know how to solve quickly, is the colorful triangles hidden all over the room.
As players collect the slices, they match the color to a dot on the floor. Once all of the slices are matched, a word become apparent and players are led to the location of the next clue.
This DIY escape room also features the use of glow in the dark paint. A number code is painted on the ceiling in the room. When players are in the room, the paint/numbers are not visible, but after solving a clue that tells players to turn off the lights, the glow in the dark clue cannot be missed!
#5 Free Printable Escape Room
If you are looking to do an escape room as soon as possible, without spending any money and it requires minimal set up, this Free Printable Escape Room is what you’re looking for. You don’t need to purchase any extra materials – no keys, locks or special pieces.
Simply print, prepare and hide the clues. You may wonder why I offer this escape room for free. Well, I create a variety of Print and Play printable escape room puzzles. I like sharing this escape room for free to give you an idea of how print and play escape rooms work.
For more printable escape rooms, visit my shop where you will find a variety of printable escape rooms, from dinosaur themed to math escape rooms, there are lots to choose from.
When you set up this escape room, players get to experience escape rooms like any other except the clues are all printed. However, they still have to solve puzzles and race to find the puzzles all around.
In this escape room, clues are hidden around the house, in common places such as, a pair of shoes, under a pillow and in a coat. The locations are simple so that the game can be set up in virtually any house.
#6 Summer Escape Room for Kids
I loved this escape room! Bring the fun of escape rooms outside with this summer escape room for kids. The escape room includes lots of great things about summer, such as water blasters, water balloons and searching for rocks in a garden.
Any backyard will work for this activity and best of all it’s screen free. This escape room is a great idea for a special activity to celebrate the end of the school year or even for a summer party!
The clues include things such as matching rocks with numbers to a sheet of paper with a color code on it as well as searching through water balloons for a key.
One of my favorite clues in this summer escape room is a container filled with a white material. Players have to carefully aim the water blasters into a whole in the top of the container.
As the container slowly fills, the water touches the white material, which slowly changes color. A video of this puzzle is included in the link.
#7 DIY Escape Room
I remember being really excited to create this escape room because it includes a few clues that were extra unique and really interesting.
When creating escape rooms, you can use virtually any room you have available to you. From a classroom to a bedroom, any space can work.
I used my child’s bedroom for this escape room. It is always fun for them to step into their room and see how it has been transformed.
The best clue in this escape room includes a small container filled with blue liquid. The container says “No Shaking”. When players look closely, they notice that there is a key in the bottom. At first, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get the key out without shaking.
However, by using a magnet, players figure out that they can get the key without shaking or spilling the water. It is a really interesting idea that the kids who have done this escape room have always found interesting.
The way that players find the magnet that they need to use to get the key out is also easy to set up and fun to solve. On top of a piece of art in the room is a note that says “Pull Here”. When players lift and pull the note, a small magnet is tied to the other end.
#8 Birthday Party Escape Room
My daughter asked me to create an escape room for her for her birthday. This escape room includes a variety of clues that are all birthday party related. From balloons and cupcakes to popcorn and slime, it is a great way to celebrate any party.
This escape room could work well for the birthday child to do alone and solve to find a special birthday present. Or a whole party group could work together to solve the escape room.
When all of the puzzles are solved, and the treasure chest is opened, the party bags/goodie bags are unlocked.
Parts of the escape room that just seem like normal things that you would find in a room end up being special clues. This escape room even integrates family pets, such as dogs, to be part of the puzzle and hold a clue – or key.
#9 Classroom Escape Rooms
Since my kids enjoyed doing escape rooms at home so much, I wanted to bring the fun, and learning, to my classroom. It can be difficult to do escape rooms with a large group of children, however, this classroom escape room worked really well!
I used this escape room to review a variety of questions that we had recently been working on in class. As students solved the problems they were directed to check different places in the school for a key.
A classroom escape room is a great way to make learning fun and also give kids a chance to get up out of their seats and moving around the school and out of their classroom.
Teachers can come up with any collection of questions to use for the puzzles. Each right answer leads to a location, and a key. Once a key is found, students return to class to the box that is locked several times, and they try their key on one of the locks.
Once all keys have been found and all locks have been removed, a small treat is found in the box for everyone!
#10 Escape Room for Kids
The final escape room for kids includes a few popular puzzles from other escape rooms, but used in different ways.
This escape room also includes a clue on the door as players enter. The clue is a cell phone password that players have to figure out once they find the cell phone in the room. Once unlocked the cell phone includes a picture of a location in the room – and a key!
My kids were big into STEM (science technology engineering and math) activities when we did this escape room.
The room includes a ramp that has several cups at the bottom that a marble can fall into. The cups each have a number. The marble will fall into only one of the cups, which gives players their number clue.
My kids always love using the UV pens so I used it again with this escape room; however, instead of simply giving them a sheet of paper with a hidden clue, I wrote the clue across various puzzle pieces. Once the puzzle is put together, and players find the UV light, they can find the clue.
Your Escape Rooms
Once you have decided on an escape room that you like the look of, click the link to get the full description. Keep in mind that these are DIY escape rooms, so you can change and alter your room to fit you and your players.
If there is a puzzle in the escape room you choose that doesn’t fit what you want your escape room to be like, then you can substitute the clue for another one from another game.
You can also make your room, more or less challenging simply by changing how hard you hide your clues. If you set them somewhere visible to players then they will find them right away and save time.
If you hide the pieces throughout the room in difficult places and all clues need to be found before solving then it will take players longer.
Remember, have fun! The room does not need to look or run perfectly. Plan to be in the room as players solve it so that you can help if something goes wrong or a puzzle doesn’t work the way you intended. Enjoy preparing the room and watching players solve your hard work and puzzles!
Free Resource Library
A fun and easy addition to any escape room is a certificate. You can use the certificate to mark the end of the escape room and it is a fun take away for kids to treasure. You can download and print escape room certificates for FREE from Hands-On Teaching Ideas Resource Library.
Subscribe for free and gain access to the library. You can download any resources that are of interest to you. There are new resources being added regularly. By subscribing you will also be the first to hear about my latest blog posts and activities. Subscribe by clicking here.
More Escape Rooms
If you are looking for even more ideas to help you create your own escape room, below is a collection of escape room planning templates, free printable puzzles and unique escape room ideas.
Print and Play Escape Rooms
If you love the idea of escape rooms, but don’t want to have to plan or purchase materials, check out Hands-On Teaching Ideas collection of print and play escape room games. Perfect for special occasions or simply a unique learning opportunity for children.
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