Escape Room for Kids Using Containers


At my house, we love puzzles and games. So naturally escape room are popular with us too! I love coming up with new puzzles and challenging my kids, and my students to work to solve them. I’ve collected ten of my favorite puzzles for you to create your own DIY escape room for kids.

Escape rooms are great for encouraging team work, problem solving and critical thinking. It’s a way to learn without paper and pen. Children learn through engagement and play. Which, in my opinion is the best kind of learning.

The puzzles below all use some type of container for the escape room puzzle. Unlock or get the container open in some way to reveal the mystery hidden within. The puzzles are intended to give you inspiration and ideas, but when you remake the puzzle, you can create them differently. Use materials that you already have access to and design them in a way that works for you!

escape room for kids shows a pinterest image.

If you love the idea of escape rooms, but don’t have the time right now to create puzzles, try a Free Printable Escape Room.

The puzzles below each use a container. From a wooden box to a treasure chest, you’ll need some kind of container. However, you don’t need to use the same as the ones I use. If you are looking for alternative ideas, view my How to Make an Escape Room Lock Box where you can download a DIY lock box for free.

Creating Your Escape Room for Kids

To create an escape room, you want to have roughly 5-10 escape room puzzles. You can look through the puzzles below and choose your favorites to create your own room. For even more ideas, check out my most popular post: 40 Escape Room Ideas.

Depending on the age and experience of your players the game may last roughly an hour. One of the great things about a DIY escape room for kids is that your puzzles don’t all have to work perfectly. You, or another adult, will supervise as players work to solve the room. If a puzzle does not go as planned, you can also help and guide children in the way you intended.

However, resist jumping in too quickly and solving the puzzles for your players. Some clues may lead them in a direction that you didn’t intend. That’s okay. Part of an escape room is making mistakes. If players don’t solve a puzzle correctly, they can always go back and try to solve it differently.

Escape Room Puzzles

I found a lockable box with four compartments that worked great for this clue! You can also simply use four different containers. In each box place a number. Once all of the boxes are opened, the number combination can be used to open another lock in the room.

You can extend this clue by challenging players to read the clue in a certain order. For example, green, blue, red and yellow. Players would find a clue in the room telling them the order to read it, and only then can they correctly unlock the lock with the right numbers.

escape room for kids shows four open boxes each with a number block inside.

DIY Puzzles #2

Players finally figure out the lock combination for the large treasure chest… only to find another smaller locked box inside. You can put a clue in the larger treasure chest for players to solve, or simply a clue in the smaller box.

escape room ideas shows an open box with a smaller locked box inside.

Escape Room for Kids

If you have several boxes that you can use, paint them each a different color. As players solve clues, each solution will also lead them to open a specific box.

I used this idea in an escape room years ago where players got the combinations for six locks, but were not told the order to unlock them until the last clue. The last clue gave them a color sequence which lead players to open a specific colored box in the order they found the lock combination.

escape room for kids shows four colorful lined up boxes.

DIY Escape Room

If you’ve only got one box, make the most of out it! Lock the final prize or clue inside the box. Players have to successfully unlock all of the locks attached to the box in order to get inside. You can attach as many locks as you want.

With each lock unlocked, players get closer to opening the box.

escape room ideas shows a box locked on both sides.

Glowing Clue

This is always a favorite clue! Print a number, or words for a clue on the box using either a UV pen or glow in the dark paint. When players initially open the box the number is not visible.

You can include a UV light pen in the box for players to figure out to use on the box to find the number. Players could also be given the UV light at another point in the game and given a clue directing them to shine it on the locked box.

family games shows a locked box with a glowing number 214.

Escape Room for Kids #6

The ‘locked, not locked’ box. Players will see the box and assume that they need a key in order to access its contents. However, the box is not actually really locked. Create your box so that it is not secured around the sides. Therefore players can open the box without having to unlock the box.

diy escape room shows a purple lock box but the lid tips off on the other side of the lock.

Escape Room for Kids #7

One way to integrate a cell phone into this clue is to place the phone inside a locked box and hide it somewhere in the room that players will not easily find.

My favorite way to use the cell phone is to give kids a clue telling them to dial a specific number along with a key. Once dialed they will hear the phone ringing from inside the box. They follow the sound of the ringing until they uncover the box. Once unlocked, you can either put another clue inside the box or include a clue on the cellphone.

escape room game for kids shows a box with a cell phone inside.

Escape Room for Kids Puzzle #8

This puzzle is a great one to make sure players are looking closely at their clues. Once players open the box they see a key, and will remove the key from the box. This key can either be a legitimate key that will open something in the escape room or, the key can also be a false, misleading clue that makes players feel that they were successful in finding the key.

However, the real clue is below the key, in a false bottom. Player will have to come back to the box and peal up with sheet of cardstock (or whatever material you use). Below this sheet is the real clue, or a second clue required to solve the escape room game.

escape room for kids shows a lock box with a key inside.
escape room at home shows a lock box with a secret compartment in the bottom.

Puzzles Using Clear Jars

If you’ve got a few clear jars that you can use for your escape room for kids, grab them for these clues!

Clear jars are fun to include because it makes clues partially visible to players, without them being able to fully see, or access the clue.

Place a bunch of objects, like ping pong balls, into the jar then slip a sheet of paper with a combination or written clue. Place it so that players can see that there is a clue in the jar, but can’t actually read it.

I used small bike locks around the jar to seal it, but you can just tell players that they can’t open it until instructed.

escape room at home shows a glass jar with pompoms and a piece of paper inside.

The next clue, using a clear jar uses magnets. Hide a clue on something magnetic and then place it, hidden in the jar. Another clue gives players a magnetic want. Once players have the wand, they can move it around the jar to reveal the magnetic piece hidden among the other materials filling the jar.

Players may have to shake the jar in order to move the magnetic piece around to connect with the magnetic wand. On the magnetic piece, players next clue is written.

puzzles for kids shows a clear jar with pompoms and a magnet number on it.

I hope the ideas above give you some ideas for your next DIY escape room!

Free Printable Resources

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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas

If you love the escape room ideas above, check out more of my escape room for kids. Free printables and lots of hands-on ideas. Make sure to check them all out!

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