DIY Christmas Escape Room That Kids Will Love


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is always filled with exciting events and fun things to do. Whether you are looking for something to try at home as a family, with a group, or plan for kids, a DIY Christmas Escape Room is a great way to celebrate.

If you have visited me before, you know that we love escape rooms around our house. I enjoy creating puzzles and putting together escape rooms for my kids, friends and family. Whether you have done escape rooms before, or are looking to try this unique activity, a Christmas themed escape room is a option to add to your holiday celebrations.

We have never done a full, hands-on escape room for Christmas before, so many of these puzzles have been on my mind for awhile and I am excited to share them with you.

Like any escape room game you can use any combination of puzzles as long as you connect each puzzle to the next. Therefore if there are any puzzles in this Christmas Escape Room that simply will not work for you, either add in another puzzle to replace it or skip it and connect it to the next puzzle.

If you are looking for more puzzle ideas, make sure to view my collection of over 40+ escape room ideas or a printable Christmas Scavenger Hunt to play around your house.

All of the printables from this DIY Christmas Escape Room are available to save you time. A link is at the bottom of the activity. You can choose to use the printables or create your own.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a pinterest pin collage of activity images.

Make Your Own Escape Room Game

If this is your first escape room that you have created, I’m hoping that you find the instructions simple to follow and easy to set up. One of the great things about creating your own escape room is that you get to run it however you want.

Typically with an escape room, I give players one hour to solve all of the puzzles and “escape”. Of course, the room is never actually locked, but a timer and some pressure to complete the activity can add to the fun.

You can also add music and other decorations around the room to add to the excitement and theme. This should be easy for the Christmas escape room if your house is already decorated for Christmas.

Any escape room can be done by either a group of people or individually. Most of the puzzles in this Christmas escape room can be reused, for multiple kids, or recreated fairly easily.

If you have a large group, older kids or kids experienced with escape rooms, there are many things you can do to make your escape room more challenging. You can hide the clues in harder places so they really have to look. You can also limit or completely eliminate giving any clues.

Have fun with your escape room! Even if you are the one setting it up, versus solving it, enjoy watching your escape room being played.

Don’t expect every clue to go as planned, and avoid jumping in to help players when they get stuck – that’s part of the fun and problem solving.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a collage of the printable pages.

DIY Christmas Escape Room Set-Up

This activity does take a bit of time to set up, but if you use the printables, you can save a lot of time. Sometimes when I create escape rooms, I just want a quick and easy set up. If you are looking for a Christmas Escape room to do today, that you don’t need any locks or special materials for, consider my print and play Christmas Escape room.

My kids have done the print and play escape room before (and loved it!), so I wanted to try something new with this hands-on escape game. I used it as a fun way to give my kids their advent calendars, but you could use to it lead to any small gift or treat.

As you prepare and set up your room, try to use materials that you already have around the house. A link to some of the materials I used is available at the bottom of the activity.

If you don’t have some of the materials, I have given suggestions for alternative materials that you could try for some of the puzzles.

The materials you will need include:

  • Christmas Escape Room Printables
  • Transparency Paper
  • Santa Hat
  • Cardstock
  • Tissue Paper
  • Elastics
  • Recordable Button
  • Large Piece of Cardboard
  • Candy Canes (3-4 different colors)
  • Number Lock
  • Lockable Box
  • Christmas Ornaments
  • String
  • Magnetic Sheet (Or magnetic pieces)
  • Magnet
  • Small Gift Boxes
  • Wrapping Paper (Various Colors/Designs)

Once you have your materials, you can prepare them and then set up your room. You can set up your escape room in virtually any room. I used to always use one single room, like a bedroom, but for the Christmas Escape Room, I set up in our family room where our Christmas tree is.

Set Up Instructions

Set up instructions are listed first, followed by an idea of how the game will be played and solutions.

DIY Christmas Escape Room Puzzle #1

Please Help Welcome Letter

For this clue, you need the “Please Help” printable, the other printable rectangle, a transparency sheet and a Santa hat.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a santa hat, puzzle and tied scroll.

Start by placing the transparency over the second box (page 5 of the printables) and tracing the shapes/letters. If you don’t have a transparency, you could try using parchment paper as long as your ink is quite dark and you can see the message on the “Please Help” sheet below.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a puzzle page and transparency.

When you place the transparency over the “Please Help” message, several words become clear and lead players to their next clue.

Place the transparency in a Santa hat with white dots somewhere in the room. Roll up the “Please Help” note and place it somewhere in the room, visible to players when they enter the room.

DIY Christmas Escape Room Puzzle #2

Tissue Tree

Although this clue looks like it will take a long time to create, I was happily surprised by how fast it was to set up.

Escape room game shows paper rolls and tissue page.

Start by rolling pieces of cardstock paper into circles and gluing or taping them to form rolls. I created 15 rolls to form a tree.

Attach a piece of tissue paper to one side of each roll and secure using an elastic.

arts and crafts for kids shows one of the rolls being covered with tissue paper.

Cut and glue a Christmas carol song name circle to the front of each roll. (Song names are included with the printables).

Use your recordable button to record roughly 5 seconds of 4 Christmas songs. Use Christmas songs listed on the song name circles. I had each of the songs open in a different tab on my computer and played one after another quickly while recording on the button.

Christmas activities for kids shows a tissue paper tree.

If you want to make this clue more challenging, you can record parts of the song that do not include the song title or different versions of the songs that players won’t immediately recognize.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows five cylinders with Christmas carol names and puzzle strips and  a button.

The recordable button goes into the “Deck the Halls” roll because the last clue leads players here.

Cut out the scrolls that say “Find and count the candy canes, red, green yellow and blue.”

escape room shows two puzzles with a printed page in one a recordable button in the other.

Place the paper scroll clue in the cardstock roll that corresponds to the song. The order you record the songs onto the button is the order players should rip the tissue to find each clue. Most of the cardstock rolls will remain empty.

Hot glue each of the rolls onto a large piece of cardboard to form a Christmas tree.

If you play the escape room a few times, this clue can be reused by removing the elastic from each of the rolls that were ripped, then attaching a new piece of tissue paper and cutting out and reattaching the song name.

DIY Christmas Escape Room Puzzle #3

Candy Cane Hunt

The next clue involves a number lock, box and colorful candy canes. To set up, you will need red, green, yellow and blue candy canes. If you are using a 3 digit number lock, you do not need the blue candy canes.

For each number on your lock, hide the corresponding number of candy canes.

For example, if your number lock code is 214, you will need to hide two red candy canes, one green and four yellow candy canes around the room.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows two red, a green and four yellow candy canes.

I did not have any blue candy canes in the room so my kids figured out that they did not need a fourth number to open the code.

If you want to make your room more challenging, hide the candy canes in hard to spot places around the room.

This is also a great clue if you have a group of kids playing because everyone, young and old can search and help find the candy canes.

DIY Christmas Escape Room Puzzle #4

Picture Puzzle

Inside your locked box, you will place a picture puzzle clue and a magnet. The magnet is needed for later clue, but players will discover it in the locked box.

To prepare the picture puzzle, simply print the picture of the Christmas winter house and print the location of the next clue. Each square on the picture includes a small white box to print a letter.

Christmas games shows a locked box and cubes with pictures on each.

You can direct players to any spot in the room where their next clue will be found, for example, “LOOK IN YOUR STOCKING” or “LOOK UNDER SANTA VILLAGE HOUSE”. You don’t have to fill every one of the boxes.

Once you have printed the letters, cut up the squares and put them in the box.

I glued the squares onto wooden cubes so that they were easier for players to manage, but you don’t have to attach them to anything.

DIY Christmas Escape Room Puzzle #5

Ornament Puzzle

Wherever you sent players to, such as their stocking or Santa village, hide the ornament pictures described below.

For this puzzle, you have three options. You can take a picture of a few ornaments on your tree and then print the pictures.

Another option is to draw a picture of the ornaments you want players to search.

Finally, if you have a matching pair to a few ornaments hide one of each of the pairs, in place of pictures, in the box.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows four pictures of ornaments.

*These pictures are not included as a printable because you will not have the same ornaments that I used.*

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a alphabet code cut into four and an ornament with the code on the back.

On the back of each ornament pictured, attach a piece of the alphabet code page described below. (Alphabet code page is included with the printables.)

DIY Christmas Escape Room Puzzle #6

Christmas Lights Alphabet Code

Players are given an alphabet code made from Christmas lights in the last puzzle. Prepare this clue by cutting out light bulbs and placing them in a specific order on a piece of string. The light bulbs are included with the printables.

escape room printable shows string, alphabet code and light bulb printables.

Use the code to place the light bulbs in the correct order to spell out the next clue. You can simply attach each bulb to a string with hot glue or tape.

escape room printable shows the order for the light bulbs.

DIY Christmas Escape Room Puzzle #7

Magnetic Gift Clue

This clue is pretty exciting! I found small gift boxes from a local dollar store, but you can simply wrap 5-6 small boxes or any small containers you have.

Line one of the boxes with magnetic paper. Make sure that the magnetic paper is strong enough by testing that the magnet (from the locked box in puzzle #4) is drawn to the magnetic box.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows folded gift boxes and one lined with magnet paper.

I added a bit of play dough to the other boxes before wrapping them to make them feel like all the same weight.

If the magnetic paper is not strong enough, I suggest placing some magnetic balls inside the box. Test it by placing the magnet to the outside of the box and making sure that you hear the magnetic balls inside the box drawn to the magnet on the outside. Place regular marbles inside the other boxes so that they all feel the same.

Wrap each box with a different pattern of wrapping paper.

Wrap one large gift with the same wrapping paper used on each small gift. So each small gift has a matching pair/larger gift.

Place the final prize inside the large gift with the same wrapping paper that has the magnet inside.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows six little gifts and identical six big gifts.

DIY Christmas Escape Room – The Game

You’re all set up and ready to go! Once you have prepared each of your puzzles and set up your room, you are ready for players to begin.

Below will give you an idea of how players will move through your DIY Christmas Escape Room. The solution to each puzzle is also included/described.

DIY Christmas Escape Room

As you enter the room, you notice a few new items that were not there before – along with lots of Christmas decorations.

The first thing you notice is a small bear holding a sheet of paper tied with ribbon.

You open the paper and start reading.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a little Christmas teddy with a scroll on its lap.

You notice at the bottom of the page what appears to be a jumbled bunch of parts of letters. Beside the letters is an arrow pointing to a Santa hat (with white dots).

Escape room shows children looking at a clue.

You look around the room for a Santa hat and notice one on a shelf. Inside the hat you find a piece of transparency paper that has a similar jumble of letters.

You place the transparency over the note and line up the boxes. Once lined up you can read, “Deck the Halls. Listen. Rip. Unlock.”

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a printed puzzle page with a transparency on top.
DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a puzzle solution that says, deck the halls listen, rip, unlock.

You look around the room for something related to Deck the Halls. You notice the song title on a tissue paper tree!

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a tree made from cylinders and tissue paper.

Quickly you find the “Deck the Halls” roll and rip the tissue paper.

Inside, you discover a button. You push the button and immediately hear Christmas carols. You listen carefully to the songs and recognize some as songs printed on other parts of the tree.

Listening to the songs again, you rip open the tissue circle with the name of the first song, then the second, third and fourth.

Escape room game shows a child putting their hand through a cylinder sealed with tissue paper.

Inside each you find a scroll paper with words on each. The four pages you find say the clue, “Find and count the candy canes. Red, green, yellow and blue.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows four strips of paper with clues on them.

DIY Christmas Escape Room Candy Cane Hunt

You look around the room and notice a bunch of candy canes! Quickly you find all of them!

Christmas game shows a yellow candy cane hidden among a wreath.

You end up with several red, green and yellow candy canes. By counting the number of each, you have a number to try in the locked box!

You open the box and find a magnet, and a bunch of squares with pictures on them. It looks like a puzzle. You quickly start sorting and putting the puzzle together unsure what the magnet is for at this point.

escape room ideas shows a child putting a cube puzzle together.

As you put it together you notice that there is a letter on each square. As the puzzle comes together, the letters start to make words. The puzzle tells you to, “Look Under Santa Village House”.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a cube puzzle all put together with the code look under santa village house.

You look around the room for Santa’s village and notice the little collection of houses and – Santa’s house!

You look all around the house and notice four printed pictures right under Santa’s home!

Christmas activities for kids shows a santa village and pages under the santa house.

Each of the pictures are pictures of what looks like ornaments. You recognize some of these ornaments as ones on your tree.

You check your tree and find each of the four ornaments pictured in the printed images. As you find the ornament, you also notice that there is a small page stuck to each ornament.

Christmas crafts for kids shows a snowman craft on a tree with a piece of paper stuck to the back.
Create this ornament! View activity here.

DIY Christmas Escape Room Light Code

You set each of the pages out and notice that is is a alphabet code. Each letter has a bulb (or two) representing the letter.

Using the alphabet code you look at the string of light bulbs on the wall. The bulbs on the wall are the same design and color as the ones on the alphabet code sheet.

You grab a pencil and paper and start to decode!

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a child pointing to printed light bulbs on a string.

Once you match each of the bulbs with a letter you have the message, “Use Magnet Open Pair”.

You look around the room once more and see a row of little gifts. You also notice that each of the small gifts are wrapped in similar paper as the larger gifts under the tree. Each little gift has a matching pair wrapped in the same paper.

DIY Christmas Escape Room shows a pyramid of six mini gifts.

Remembering the first part of the bulb clue, you grab the magnet from the locked box and touch it to each of the small gifts, not knowing what to expect.

Once you touch the magnet to the striped red and white wrapped gift, the gift is immediately attracted to the magnet and moves to it. You solved the puzzle!

Christmas shows six small gifts set in a line.

Looking around you know that you have to open the pair. You notice one large gift under the tree wrapped with the same paper as the little magnetic one – that’s the pair!

You open the gift and find a present and a completion certificate! Congratulations, you solved all the puzzles and escaped the DIY Christmas Escape Room!

Escape room certificate shows two certificates on a red back ground with lights.

Congratulations! You did it! You used problem solving and critical thinking to work your way through the puzzles and complete all of the clues. Merry Christmas!

DIY Christmas Escape Room Printables

Save time by printing the pages featured in the above escape room. The pages shown in the DIY Escape Room are available in my shop. Click the link below.

Print and Play Christmas Escape Room

If you love this hands-on DIY escape room and are looking for more, try out this print and play escape room. You can print, prepare and play it today! No keys, locks or special materials required.

More Hands-On Teaching Ideas

Winter and Christmas are the perfect time to add some themed learning to your kids play. Below is a collection of my most popular and favorite seasonal activities for kids.

Whether you are planning for your own kids at home or students in the classroom, there are lots of ideas to keep kids busy and learning all season long!

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