Become the Master of Design and create an Escape Room in your house! Use a room in your home or an outdoor space to create a giant puzzle room for your children, or turn over the puzzle-master duties to an older child to create some home entertainment.
Here are some of the easiest ways you can create an escape room at home today.
- The Lost Key
The best way to think of an escape room is as a series of puzzles. Work backwards from the locked door (even if it’s really just a closed door, you can use your imagination and set the rules for unlocking). How will your players escape? Hide a key! Make the key yourself out of paper or maybe there’s a lock around the house with a key or easy combo.
For this, all you have to do is hide the key or combo somewhere in the “locked” room, and tell your players they have to find it.
- A Ticking Timer
Part of the fun of an escape room is knowing you’re playing against the clock. Set a timer on a phone or on your stove or microwave. How fast do you think your players can escape? The more puzzles you add, the more time you should give them. We have lots of puzzles in our library escape rooms, but we give our groups about 20 minutes. Sometimes it’s close, but who doesn’t love a last-second win? Probably for home entertainment 10 minutes would be enough.
- A Secret Code
A secret code doesn’t have to be complicated to be a challenge. You could pick a password, like “LOCK” or a secret phrase like “OPEN SESAME,” then write it on a piece of paper, tear the paper into a few big puzzle pieces and scatter them around the room. When your players find all the pieces (we recommend no more than three or four pieces) and unscramble the password or phrase, they’ll be able to move to the next part! You can also make easy picture puzzles, using familiar and unfamiliar symbols like hieroglyphs to make codes. If you use unfamiliar symbols, place a key to deciphering the symbols somewhere in the room.
- A Physical Challenge
One fun thing you can add to your escape room is a team physical challenge. You could add a pretend minefield or hall of mousetraps to part of your room by scattering playing cards or pieces of paper on the floor. Tell the players they have to work together to get across, but they have to go blindfolded. Your players can take turns, with one wearing a blindfold and walking through the paper traps, and the other calling out directions, then switch.
- Add It All Together!
To really make your escape room feel like one big challenge, make it so your puzzles have to be beaten in order. You could put your key inside of a box, which you hide, and write a challenge like “What’s the password?” on the top. With our examples so far, you might say:
“First you have to cross the treacherous mousetraps, then find the hidden key box and solve the code to open the box, get the key, and free yourself from the room, all before the timer runs out.”
Don’t forget, your puzzles and codes can be whatever you make them. The most fun comes with succeeding, so make your puzzles challenging, but not impossible.