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Escape room

The 10 Best DIY Escape Room Ideas for Kids

Creating an escape room game at home sounds like a lot of fun. But you might be confusing the playing of the game with the creation of it...
2021.03.02.

Creating an escape room game at home sounds like a lot of fun. But you might be confusing the playing of the game with the creation of it. Two very different things! You have to think up original ideas that they haven't seen before. The puzzles and clues need to also be original as well as easy enough to understand and solve. But then again, not too easy or the kids will get bored mighty fast.

Before you settle down to start thinking of puzzles, it might be better to ask yourself some basic questions about the game first:

1. How many people will be playing at once?
2. Where do you want to set it up (in the house)?
3. What is the theme going to be?
4. Is it for adults or kids or in-betweeners?
5. How long will the playing time e?
6. What materials do you have at hand to use?
7. Who will test the room?

Today we're going to be looking into designing a room for youngsters between 9 - 13 years of age. We're going to go through setting up a working escape room from home, along with a theme, a script, a narrative, and all the materials needed. 

So the first question is where to create a DIY Escape Room?

Just like setting up a business, they always say you should take note of the location, location, location. Of course, you could play an escape room game almost anywhere in the house. You just will need more than a couple of rooms. One word of warning, if the players have the run of the rooms, then please remove personal items that you don't want a group of strangers going through. Or you can tell everyone that only the draws and cupboards that are open are actually part of the game.

No secret doors

If there are a number of rooms, but you only want the game to take place in a few of them, then a piece of A4 paper, stuck to the front of each door that's included in the game will suffice. If you write a name or a number on it then everyone will know which rooms they've allowed to play in. ideally, you don't want kids wandering around the house getting into places where they're not supposed to be. 

As a minimum, every room involved in the game should have at the very least a table. This is because it allows the players to put stuff down as they try and figure things out. There's no need for chairs, as you want to encourage them to be moving all the time. We suggest that you consider hanging clues all over the room. This will help develop cooperation and open communication as they shout out their findings to each other. 

Tools and material for creating the Escape room

When you pay and play a professional-level escape room game, you'll be met with any number of props, along with all kinds of interesting objects and things. So, when planning you're own escape room game at home, be sure to make the game interesting. here are some ideas to get the grey cells working: 

Combination Locks

Numeric locks are your best friends here. That's because you can use the numbers on the lock as codes in a huge number of clues. By solving certain puzzles and breaking certain codes, then the number will be revealed. You can also use a cipher lock for desk drawers or locked boxes. These boxes would open allowing the players to find a letter or note pointing to the next clue. 

Communicating on your Website 

Virtually all kids have phones these days. So why not use an existing website/page where the players need to fill in a code online to go to the next level or use it as a clue. By finding a letter, with a link to an online combination lock that needs to be opened to proceed, makes the game more technical and therefore greater fun.

Escape Room idea: Autoresponder Whatsapp 

You can set up a Whatsapp group. If for example, the players are stuck, you could be in the room with them and they could ask you directly for a hint. But it's a better scenario if they need to go to a Whatapp Auto-responder. You can set up the auto-responder to automatically reply with a hint depending on what letter or number they enter. That's going to be better fun all around, and the game will always be better for the kids if the parents are not there.

Hiding hints of keys in a book

This is an easy but great idea for kids. Take an old book and cut out a square from the inner pages. It's the perfect hiding spot for small items like keys or a USB drive.

Voice mail 

Setting up a voice mail takes seconds, but can add something extra to your kid's escape room game. Maybe the outcome of one puzzle is the necessity to call a telephone number. For all kids, this will up the excitement as calling an unknown number is exciting in itself. The message for them can be a cryptic as you like or just some more instructions to help them progress.

Cryptex

We suggest that you have a look on Youtube about how to construct a cryptex. These will drive the kids nuts as they are not easy to solve. There are a huge number of variations, but we suggest you stick with something fairly simple.

Jigsaw puzzles

Whether you use the back of an old jigsaw puzzle or simply construct something from pieces of A4 paper, a jigsaw puzzle is a sure-fire winner. The number of pieces shouldn't be too many, otherwise finding them will become a chore. You can write a question on them, or place a map of the house with various important points highlighted. The list of options is limitless.

QR code in your DIY Escape Room

Going back to the fact that all kids have phones, then placing QR Codes around the rooms is another great idea. These codes could direct them to a website or short Youtube video. or you could have a whole string of QR Codes, which would then all make up a single clue. There are a huge number of apps and websites where you can make up and then print out your own QR Codes.

Skill games

These are the old-fashioned party games of yesteryear. Depending on how you set these up, they can be incredibly cool for today's kids. A good example is the old magnet game. You have a glass plate with a metal object like a key just below it. The kids will have to use magnets to move the key through a maze to the edge from where it can be retrieved. There are many of these older games that can be turned into puzzles and allow for the placing of clues.

Mastermind

This can be in the form of a famous TV series. A series of general knowledge questions. Or placing numbers/colors in some sort of preordained order. As the game is question-based, then the level of the game can be set for the kids. And the types of questions are limitless.

However you set up your escape room game for kids, do keep an eye on the clock. You might well find that 1 hour is too long without a break. In fact, we suggest a break every 20 minutes or so for refreshments, as that will also allow them time to discuss the game amongst themselves. You will have to oversee the game as it's being played. Not just to help with any hints, but to ensure that no one child totally dominates the whole game. Also, the kids will need some encouragement and you'll have to help them a little with their wild guessing. 

In other words, don't just leave them alone to play. If they all get stuck on one clue, and there's no one there to encourage them, they will quickly get bored and will not want to play the rest of the escape room game. Keeping kids entertained isn't easy. We suggest that you combine the modern (internet, phone) with those old-fashioned games of the past. This should offer enough variety to see them through to the end.
 

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