Escape rooms have never been easier! Create an escape room in your home, using things around your house to create thought provoking clues and puzzles. DIY escape rooms allow you to customize an adventure for your kids, family or friends. This collection of 10 DIY escape room ideas for around the house will give you lots of ideas and inspiration to get you started.
Escape rooms are a great opportunity for kids to work on problem solving and team work skills. Using simple materials that you already have around the house makes it easier to create an escape room and the option to make them more often.
I love visiting escape room locations in my city to try a new experience with family or friends. However, these games can be expensive and often teams run out of time before completing the escape room.
Make an escape room at home to give you the freedom to run the game as long as you want and customize it specifically for your players. The DIY escape room described below uses common household items to help make your room affordable and easy to set up. A few of the clues do suggest to use locks if you have some on hand, but most are quick and easy to prepare.
Like all escape rooms that you create, you can substitute any of the clues for another one. If you don’t have the materials for one of the clues below, you can visit my collection of over 40+ Escape Room Ideas and substitute a different clue in.
DIY Escape Room Set Up
The puzzles below are simply ideas. You can choose to use all of the puzzles and connect each one to the next. However, you can also choose to exclude some of the puzzles. I suggest using at least five puzzles to create an escape room.
The more puzzles you use, the longer and more challenging your escape room becomes. If you don’t have the materials for one of the clues below, simply skip it and connect to the next clue.
Adding decorations or themed elements to the room, such as music, can add to the fun and excitement of an escape room.
When you create an escape room, expect that things will not go perfectly. Players may not be able to solve a clue, or they may head somewhere other than the place you expected a clue to lead. That’s okay. That’s also the fun of an escape room. Part of the challenge is making mistakes and trying different things until you solve the problem correctly.
The puzzle ideas are described below to create an escape room. However, you can create your room using any of the clues, in any order. You can also use the ideas below to add to another escape room.
DIY Escape Room Ideas
As children enter the room, leave a cracker box on the counter or somewhere in the room that children would notice it out of place, such as with the cups or in the fridge.
It can be any box or container, it does not have to be a box of crackers.
Players will search the box and inside the box, write a number code or word to tell players where to go for their next clue.
If you use a number code, match it with the lock combination. That lock is placed somewhere else in the room and holds the next clue.
DIY Escape Room Ideas
Inside the locked box from the previous clue, players will find a collection of coins.
If you simply printed a word inside the cracker box (and didn’t use a locked box), the word can tell players where to find the coins and hide them somewhere in the room.
All of the coins inside the container are exactly the same…except one!
Players will need to search carefully to find the one that doesn’t belong. Once they find the other coin, such as a nickel, they will notice that there is a word printed on the special coin.
I have printed FRIDGE because players will check the fridge for their next clue. You can print any word.
Use a penny is you want to make this clue easier or have young players. The penny will stand out more to the rest of the silver coins.
Escape Room Ideas
#3 Grocery List
The list clue can be taped beside/on the fridge.
The next clue players find is this simple grocery list. Beside each food item, there is a price.
With the coins from the previous clue, or with the grocery list, print the names of a few of the items on the grocery list. For example, apples, pasta and butter lead players to the numbers 346 (the money amount beside each item).
This number can open another lock. If you are not using locks, you can place letters beside the food items to spell out a word.
Escape Room Ideas
Clue #4 Family Pet
Including a family pet into your DIY escape room is a great way to use what you already have around your house. A pet is a fun clue because most players won’t think to check their animal for a clue.
I placed a key around our dogs collar. It is very obvious once players start looking for it, but not immediately apparent.
If you do include you pet as part of the escape room, make sure to include the clue on them in a safe and comfortable spot.
It can be a key, or a small piece of paper with a written clue.
DIY Escape Room Ideas
Clue #5 Closet
The key can open a locked door in the room, or it can open another box that tells players to check the closet and check anything that seems out of place.
This is a really simple clue, but my kids loved it and it is really easy to set up. I organized the closet so that all the same colored shirts and tops were together. I then placed one white shirt with all of the black clothes. The shirt stood out.
On the shirt you can write your next clue. I wrote a number code, but you can also write a word or a few sentences to direct players to their next clue.
If you don’t want to write directly on the shirt you can pin a note or stick tape with a message to the shirt.
DIY Escape Room Ideas
Idea #6 Sink Clue
An idea to write on the shirt is for players to, “Check where water runs when the dishes need to be done. Turn on the water for some more fun!”
Cut a small circle of paper about the size of the tap. Print the clue onto the paper. Turn on the tap so that the tap is wet, and stick the paper to the underside of the tap.
The water should be enough to hold it. Make sure the paper isn’t much bigger than the tap so that players don’t see it before they search for it.
Once they turn the tap on, their clue will quickly appear as the water runs out.
DIY Escape Room for Kids
Clue #7 Hidden Key
Players will head to the washrooms to the toilet paper. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be anything special about the toilet paper, but if players begin to unroll it, they will quickly find their next key.
If you want to make this clue more challenging for older groups, you can put the key inside the roll so that it is not visible, but players will hear it move on the inside of the roll.
If you have a few washrooms in the house, it’s okay if players don’t head to the intended washroom right away. Part of the fun of an escape room is having to try different things and searching the surroundings.
If you don’t want to use a key, you can simply included a note on a sheet of paper with the next clue and roll it into the toilet paper.
Escape Room Ideas
Clue #8 Pocket Clue
If you do use a key in the previous clue, you can place a note in the locked box for players to check the pockets of their pants. They’ll have to head to their closet for their next clue!
A clue like this is very simple, but challenges players to search through items until they find the clue. You can help players and focus their search by giving them clues, such as the clue is in a pair of grey pants or is below a pair of red shorts.
Extra clues like this will help players find the clue faster and encourage close reading so they do not have to search every pair of pants in order to find the clue.
Escape Room for Kids
Clue #9 Paper Towel
The next clue leads players to check the paper towel, or even a tissue box. As players unroll the paper or remove tissues, a note is written inside with their next clue.
You can make this clue as long, or as short as you want. You can also make it more challenging by not printing the clue until players have to unroll the paper several rolls before finding anything.
DIY Escape Room
Clue #10 Hidden in Plain Sight
Players will follow the clue and search wherever you suggest on the paper towel. For the final clue players will have one last locked box in the room.
The final key is hidden in plain sight. The key is small and hidden/taped on the side of a door in the room. Players must carefully look in order to find this final piece of their escape room.
Once they find this final key, they can open a box with a prize, small treat or one of the Free Printable Escape Room certificates. (Subscribe below to gain access to the Free Library and download the certificate).
I hope that this collection of 10 DIY Escape Room Ideas for Kids has given you some inspiration on how to set up an escape room in your own home.
Free, No Prep Escape Rooms
If you’re looking for a few escape room games that you don’t require any extra materials for, check out these printable escape room games. They are FREE to download and print for Hands-On Teaching Ideas subscribers.
The games can be printed and set up around the house, and the above game for young kids can be used on a table top and even in a classroom.
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Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you love the idea of DIY escape rooms, then you’ll love these other escape room ideas. From printable escape room puzzles to add to your DIY escape room ideas to hands-on games that you can create at home, it’s never been easier to make your own game.
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