DIY Escape Room Puzzles for Kids


I love escape rooms! I love visiting these game rooms in the city I live, and exploring new puzzles and creative clues. Even more, I love creating escape rooms that can be made at home using simple materials that I already have on hand. Escape rooms don’t have to be fancy or take months to plan. These DIY escape room puzzles for kids use cups and similar containers for a great variety of unique clues!

Choose virtually any room and transform it into an escape room. You can use any assortment of puzzles from below to create your room. If there is a puzzle that you don’t have the materials for, or can’t easily get, simply don’t include that clue in your DIY escape room.

If you are doing the game with a group of children, it’s a great opportunity for them to develop team work skills, critical thinking and even perseverance for when clues are more challenging then they may initially look.

DIY escape room puzzles shows a pinterest pin image.

Creating Your DIY Escape Room Puzzles

Escape rooms are fun, exciting adventures. Creating your own escape room at home, or a location of your choice, is a great way incorporate items and themes that your players love.

Escape rooms usually last about an hour and include at least five puzzles. The more puzzles you include, the longer, and more challenging, your escape room will become.

Adding decorations, music and a theme to your escape room are easy ways engage players and make the game special.

For more DIY escape room puzzles, check out the popular list of 40 Escape Room Ideas. If you want to try an escape room, but want an easier one without hands-on puzzles, try a Free Printable Escape Room.

The puzzles below all incorporate cups in some way. These can be mini cups, reusable drinking cups or even a mug. The clues include coding type puzzles, and many hidden surprises under the cups. If you don’t have cups to use, you can always use something else, such as a locked box.

You can put the clues in any order you want to in an escape room, the only rule to make sure that it works is to make sure each clue leads to the next.

Please note that the clues below are not in a specific order to create one escape room. They are a collection of puzzle ideas you can use to create your own escape room.

DIY Escape Room Puzzle #1

If you have a larger group working on your escape room, this clue is a great one! Use several cups and print a letter on the bottom of each one to form a word. The word you print is the location of the next clue.

DIY escape room shows a cup with the letter B written on the bottom and set in a shelf.
escape room game shows a cup on a hook with the letter E on the bottom.
DIY escape room shows a shelf with craft materials and a cup with a letter D on the bottom.

For example, the cups shown above spell out the word, BED. Players have to search the room and successfully find each cup with a letter and then unscramble them to create a word. The more cups with letters the harder for players to solve. If you want to make it even more challenging, you can hide a few cups without letters.

DIY Escape Room Punch Cups

This was a favorite for my kids! We used this idea for a Christmas escape room. Place a clue or code inside the cups.

Each cup is covered with tissue paper and secured to the end with an elastic. Place words, numbers or clues on the front of each cup, on the tissue paper. Players are given clues telling them which tissue paper to rip to get to the clue inside.

You can also direct players to rip the paper in a certain order to reveal a code or clue.

DIY escape room puzzles for kids shows a pyramid made from cups and tissue paper covering the tops.

Escape Room Ideas Turn a Code

Stack several cups for this next puzzle. Around the edge of each puzzle, print letters. When certain letters are lined up, a code is revealed. For example, if players are told to create the word ESCAPE, then the word PILLOW is also created after the cups are rotated..

When using this clue, make sure that players do not change the order of the stacked cups.

puzzle game for kids shows a stack of cups with letters on the edge.

You can even hide a key or piece of paper with a clue inside the stacked cups. When the code is discovered players can check for the treasure inside.

DIY Escape Room Puzzles #4 Path Code

Incorporate coding into your DIY escape room. Give players cups with arrows and create a grid with a number code at the end of each row/column.

Give players clues as to how to set their cups. For example, give a starting point and then place cups to move right, two. Each direction moves players on the board. As players lay out their cups, following the arrows, they end up with one arrow pointing to a number. This number can be a lock combination for the next clue.

escape room with cups shows a grid with cups with arrows on the bottom.

DIY Escape Room Puzzles – Magnets

Use a collection of cups and arrange them in rows. The more cups you can use, the better. In the bottom of each cup, place a sticker dot with a number. On one of the sticker dots, write the number combination for a lock for the next clue in your escape room. The rest of the numbers are random.

On the bottom of the cup with the lock combination, place a magnet. Make sure that the magnet is strong enough that when you touch it with a magnet wand it will pick it up. Secure the other cups to the tray or table they are set on.

You can set something, that’s not magnetic below the other cups if the magnet under the cup makes it stand out as being taller.

diy escape room for kids shows several rows of cups with green dots on the bottom of each with a number printed on each.
escape room for kids shows a magnetic wand, cup with a number on the bottom and a b=magnet block.

In the clue before this puzzle, players will receive the magnetic wand and a clue to touch the wand to the sticker dots in the cups. Until players get the wand, all of the cups appear the same and none of the numbers stand out. Players can’t solve the puzzle under they have the wand.

Once players get the wand and touch the wand to the numbers, one cup and number will connect with the wand and players will know this number code is important!

Puzzle Ideas for Kids Magical Mug

I love incorporating interesting escape room puzzles, like this one, in my DIY games. I usually try to use simple materials, but sometimes I find a new item that I can’t wait to use in my next room. See a more detailed description of how I used it in my post, 9 Creative DIY Escape Room Ideas.

This mug has a temperature sensitive film on it. When you stick it to the cup it appears clear, however, when you pour hot, or cold, water into the mug the film changes color and revels a question mark. You can have players match the color it turns to a code.

puzzle game shows a white mug with a blue question mark sticker on it.

DIY Escape Room Puzzles

If you have a group of young children doing the escape room, this is a fun, hands-on clue they will enjoy. Create cards with pictures of objects on them, for example a carrot and gold coin. Have a large assortment of images and then give players a clue that directs them to a few specific objects.

Players then have to search and find each object under a collection of cups. Each cup has an object underneath, each featured on one of the cards, and a number or letter on the cup.

diy escape room puzzles shows two pictures, one a gold coin and the other a carrot, and two cups, one with the number 9 and 3.

Once players are given a few cards and matching objects to find under the cups, the number on the cups is another clue, or code for players to help them with their next clue.

Escape Room Game Ideas

This puzzle is similar to the third puzzle with the cups, however, it is set up differently. Do not give players the cups stacked. Instead players find the cups around the room and then a clue tells them how to stack the cups. Print a number on the bottom of each cup to identify which order to stack them. Then players have to turn the cups to get the correct number combination.

diy escape room for kids shows a stack of cups with numbers around the edge of each.

Around the top of each cup print numbers, each a different color. When players are told the order to stack the cups they are also told the color combination for the order of the numbers. For example, red, blue, purple and red, will give players the code 2801.

DIY Escape Room Puzzles

Set up as many cups as possible on a grid. Players are given instructions to narrow down which cup they will find a special clue, or code under. Clues can include things such as, it is not the top right corner cup or it is not in the third row.

breakout game for kids shows a grid and red cups in each square.

Players remove cups as they solve the clues until they are left with only one cup. It is under this cup, and only this cup that they find find their next clue.

Puzzle Games for Kids

The final DIY escape room puzzle is great for kids working on coordinates in math. Create a grid and label the rows and columns. Each square created by the grid has a ‘name’, such as A1.

A previous clue in your escape room tells players a list of coordinates. When players read each coordinate, they lift the cup that match the coordinate. Under each cup is a number, or letter to spell out a word. Players have to be careful to read the coordinates in a specific order in order to get the correct clue.

Once all of the coordinates are read, players will be directed to their next clue.

diy escape room for kids shows a grid made from tape and a paper cup in each square.

Once players have solved all of the puzzles, the final location can include a small prize or completion certificate. (Free certificates can be found in the Free Resource Library. Subscribe below to gain access to the library and printables.)

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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas

Check out hands-on teaching ideas for more escape room fun! Each of the ideas below escape room puzzles using simple materials. You can combine some of the puzzles below with the escape room puzzles with cups above to create an ultimate escape room!

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