Welcome to your escape room! If you are interested in trying an escape room for kids using hands-on puzzles, this escape room is a great place to start. Quickly and easily create an escape room game using materials from around your house. Below is an example of a collection of puzzles put together to create a simple escape room that even young children will enjoy.
The escape room game uses toys and materials that many children are familiar with and play with on a daily basis, such as blocks and play dough. The game is a great way for children to explore these materials in a whole new way.
As you look through the escape room ideas, if there is a puzzle that you don’t have the materials for or you don’t think it will work well for you, or your children, then change out the puzzle with another one. For more ideas, check out my collection of over 40 escape room ideas.
Most of the printable puzzles are available for free in my resource library. Subscribe here to gain access and print them today to save time.
Escape rooms are fun and exciting, but they are also great for teaching problem solving skills and a growth mindset. Players will typically have to try a few strategies to solve the puzzles before they are successful.
Children learn that solving them on the first try is not the goal, but rather persistence and never giving up is the focus.
As with all escape rooms and activities for children, make sure to supervise as children complete the escape room. Also make sure to use puzzles that are appropriate for the age of the children doing the escape room and place all puzzles in a safe location.
Setting Up the Escape Room for Kids
To set up your escape game, prepare your clues and place them, or hide them, around the room. You can also add some music, or a timer to play in the background.
I typically tell my kids that they have one hour to solve the escape room. This is typically plenty of time and leads children to feel successful when they solve the room.
Upon walking into the room players will notice a locked treasure chest box, a jar with a dark liquid and some words randomly placed around the room. Mention to players that the dark liquid cannot be opened until they are instructed to do so.
On their own, none of these clues can be solved, but their importance will become apparent as players solve other puzzles.
Escape Room Games – Puzzle #1
The first puzzle is a printable puzzle. The page shown also includes a circle puzzle clue, but for this escape room game, you only need the strips of paper. You can find this printable in the Free Resource Library. Subscribe to Hands-On Teaching Ideas for access.
Print the puzzle page and write the words for where you want players to look for their first clue. You can choose anywhere in the room. Choose six words to describe the location of the next clue and print one word on each section (as shown in the picture)
The puzzle and different ideas of how to use this printable puzzle is discussed in more detail on this page.
Depending on the age of the players, you can make this clue easier by adding a rainbow of colors down the side of the page. This can help players match up the words and put them in order. If players are older, or more experienced, then don’t add the color.
To make it even easier, you can also print clue 1 of 6, 2 of 6 and so on so players know that they are looking for six words in order to complete the clue.
Once you have printed each of the words leading players to the next clue, cut out the strips of paper and hide or place them around the room. You can add to the challenge by hiding the words in places that they are not easily visible.
However, since this is the first clue upon entering the room, you want players to notice at least some of the words so they know where to start.
Players will race around and collect the six words and then put them together. In this escape room game the clue tells players to “Look in the big doll house”.
Once players solve the puzzle, they will race to search the dollhouse for their next clue.
Escape Game Clue #2
In the dollhouse, players will find a alphabet code, all made from building blocks. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by one, or a combination of blocks. I created the alphabet and then took a picture of the board so that I could use it again and again for my escape rooms.
Create an alphabet code based on the blocks that you have available to you.
Players then search their building blocks and find a base with a few strategically placed blocks. Using the alphabet code found in the dollhouse, players figure out what each block on the base stands for.
When each piece is matched with a letter, it spells out, “One two six”. A number code!
Players remember that they need a number code to open the locked treasure box that they found when they first walked into the room.
If you don’t have a lock, don’t worry. Put a picture of a lock on a box and players have to tell the person supervising what the code is in order to open it. That’s the great thing about DIY escape room games – the puzzles don’t have to be perfect.
Escape Room Game Clue #3
Once players have use the code to open the box, they find a container with a white liquid.
The liquid is milk/cream. You can use whatever you have on hand, it simply has to be a white liquid.
On the container is simply the words, “Mix the liquids”. Players grab this white liquid and race to the dark liquid they found at the beginning.
To prepare this clue, decide where this clue is going to lead players to. Think of a word to write inside the jar that will tell players where to look next. Permanent marker is best. For my clue, I wrote the word, “Blocks.”
Next, add dark food coloring to a jar and then add water. Don’t add too much food coloring, just enough that the word is not visible.
Sometimes I avoid using liquids in my escape room games because they can get messy, but if you are supervising and players are careful these type of clues can add a really fun and exciting puzzle to the game.
Once players find the white liquid and are told to mix the liquids, they can open the jar and pour in the white liquid.
Once the white liquid is added, the word “Blocks” becomes visible on the jar.
If you don’t have food coloring, you can use a dark liquid, like coffee for this clue.
Escape Room Building Blocks Puzzle Clue #4
Once players solve the previous clue by mixing the liquids, they are sent to check out the blocks. The blocks can mean any blocks that you have in the room.
Don’t worry if you have several types of blocks such as, building blocks and large plastic blocks, even if you have a few items that ‘blocks’ could refer to, that simply adds to the challenge for players to find the right blocks.
To create this escape room puzzle, grab a collection of the blocks and arrange them in a format. Any format will work. For older children, a more complicated format with more blocks can add to the challenge.
Take a picture of this format and print it on a printer. (Or take a picture on a phone to show players or sketch the blocks).
Place the blocks from the format/printed picture in a bag. Players will find a bag with the bunch of wooden blocks in it as well as the printed picture of the blocks in a format that you created.
Next, add one other block to the blocks used in the printed picture. Make sure that it is a block that is different from the others. Do not add any other blocks to the bag.
Players will know that they found the right blocks because they will find the printed picture and tape with words on the other wooden pieces. (See the photo below).
Add a piece of tape to each block in the bag with a word saying a location in the room. Each block should say a different location. On the extra block print the location of the next clue.
Players begin to recreate the photo. As they put the pieces into the correct spot, they will be left with one block that is not represented in the photo. This piece holds the next clue. In this escape room game, the next clue is “Play dough”.
Escape Room Puzzle #5 – Play Dough
Players race to the collection of play dough. As they look through the containers, they finally find one with a piece of paper in it. As they clear the play dough off of the clue, the clue reads, “Check the Cash Register”.
You can direct players to any item in the room, I chose a toy cash register. This will send players to the final prize.
For younger players, you can always try using photos of the next puzzle location instead of words. Simply take a photo of the next location and print it small enough to hide with the clue.
When players find the picture it tells them where to look next, but in a more kid friendly way for anyone who cannot read yet.
The Final Prize + Certificate
Players search the room for the cash register and look all over it for their final prize. When they open the register, they find an escape room certificate letting them know that they successfully completed the room!
You can include the free escape room certificate or you can add something special, such as a small treat or toy. If you have a larger prize to give players, you can put a note in the cash register to see the person supervising the game for their prize!
Make your escape room game easy to set up and prepare with free printables available through Hands-On Teaching Ideas. From printable puzzle pieces and the word strips featured in the above escape room to certificates and planning templates, creating an escape room has never been easier.
In the Free Resource Library you will find dozens of educational resources and fun printables for kids and educators. By subscribing you will also be the first to hear about my latest activity ideas and promotions.
Free Printable Escape Room
If you are looking for another escape room game that you can set up quickly and doesn’t cost much, try out my free printable escape room. Print and play in a matter of minutes. You don’t need any extra materials or supplies, just print, prepare, hide the paper clues and you’re ready to go!
More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you are looking for more hands-on learning activities for children to try in the classroom or at home, below is a collection of my most popular and favorite activities.
From more escape room games and printable escape rooms to choice boards and educational games, there is lots to keep kids busy and learning.