Make Your Own Escape Room Challenge for Kids

Make Your Own Escape Room Challenge for Kids at Home

Escape Rooms are a very popular thing right now. I decided to make one at home for my kids to try and it was so much fun. Here’s how to make your own escape room challenge for kids:

Buy a Lock

First, I bought a lock that needs 4 numerals to unlock it and it can be reset to a new combination over and over again. Another idea would be to use a lock with a key and have one of your clues give a hint about where the key is hidden.

Then, I made and printed different clues and puzzles for the kids to solve. I decided to get tricky by making some of the answers single digits (to apply to the lock) and some double digit answers hoping they would weed those out and realize they weren’t needed.  I also printed harder puzzles for B (11 years old) to keep him involved.

Set a Goal

In our own Make Your Own Escape Room, we decided to lock up dessert. This seemed more applicable to our kids than trying to escape from a room.


I hid all of the clues in the same room (the dining room) so they were “locked” in that room to figure it all out. Here are the clues I included:

The first clue I made (easy to solve) is using half of an empty paper towel tube, a piece of cardstock, and tape. This wasn’t hard to solve for my daughter (8), but it was fun to find and figure out.

  1. Wrap a piece of cardstock around the tube and tape it, but make sure it is loose enough to turn.
  2. Once it is taped, slide it off the tube and cut it into 6 pieces.
  3. Slide them back onto the tube and draw your clue. I wrote the word “five” in bubble letters.
  4. Tape the first and last section onto the tube so they aren’t movable and then mix up the inside pieces.
  5. Hide your clue somewhere in the room.

The second clue I made was a code to decipher. The answer was “eleven” which wasn’t needed to unlock the lock. I crumpled the chart and hid that in one part of the room and hid the code in a different spot in the room. They needed to find them and figure out that they go together.

  1. Print the chart from Cassie Stephens.
  2. Draw the simple shapes to spell out a word or number.

The next clue was a simple code to decipher with the alphabet. The answer is “seven”. S is the 19th letter in the alphabet, E is the 5th letter, V is the 22nd letter in the alphabet, etc.

I was thinking B (11 years old), who has seen codes like this before would automatically know that it goes with the order of the alphabet, but they ended up pairing it with the chart from the previous clue to figure it out.

Another clue I used was a Math Puzzle from Learn with Math Games. There are many options that you can print.

I printed one that I knew would be a challenge, but not too frustrating. I boxed in the number that is the clue. This clue was also a double digit number that wasn’t needed.

This puzzle was an easy clue to print out. I rolled it up and hid it in a plant. The answer is 16 so it also wasn’t needed for the combination.

This brainteaser is from Brain Fans. They have many options that you can print out.

I circled the yellow balloon so the kids would know which number they needed for the lock combination. I ripped the paper into pieces and hid the pieces separately around the room.

This logic puzzle from Shake the Brain was hidden with my 11 year old in mind. He knew when he found it that it wasn’t going to be helpful, but enjoyed solving it anyway.

I printed this clue from Brain Fans and they have a ton of different puzzles that you can print out. The answers are given for each of the puzzles they have.

It was neat to see the kids working together and figuring out the clues. Once they figured out all of the clues, they pulled out the single digits and tried a few combinations on the lock. N (age 8) actually put together the 2 digit numbers to make a code, which was something I didn’t think of.


Our code was 5471. Once they started trying the different combinations, I gave them a clue about the first two numbers. “The first two numbers are 1 number apart.”  This helped them narrow down possible combinations. Giving a clue like this was a must!

They finally unlocked it and we had dessert. What I learned is it’s actually pretty easy to make your own escape room challenge for kids. Printing or making different clues and then hiding them didn’t take long and it was easy to set the lock to the code I needed.

There’s no wrong way to do it. You can make the clues as easy or as hard as you need to for different aged kids. I think I had just as much fun making it as they did cracking the code.

Other Ideas:

  • Lock a box with a prize or victory flag inside.
  • Hide a key to get out of the room or to unlock a part of the house.
  • Try an idea like this during a group play date or party.

Make Your Own Escape Room for Kids

Check out the other puzzles that we’ve tried here at The Activity Mom and our Pinterest board, Puzzle Activities, has a lot of great inspiration and ideas. 

Have you seen my new book, Adventure Girls? It is a book full of crafts and activities for curious, creative, and courageous girls.

Activities and Crafts for Girls

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  • Reply Mr Yeet


    November 20, 2018 at 1:29 am
    • Reply queenlol


      April 14, 2020 at 8:23 pm
  • Reply Kirsten

    Great idea!

    December 10, 2018 at 10:28 am
    • Reply Nicole

      Thank you!

      December 18, 2018 at 2:02 am
  • Reply Becky

    Love these ideas! How long did it take for your kids to solve the clues and unlock the lock?

    January 1, 2019 at 3:29 am
    • Reply Nicole

      Thanks! The kids had a ton of fun. The puzzles didn’t end up taking too long, maybe 30 minutes (but they worked together and older brother was more than happy to step in as needed). The lock took forever because I didn’t anticipate how many possible combinations of those numbers there could be. So we gave clues with that to help. That took 5 to 10 minutes with the clues. When I do it again, I’ll make sure there is a way to put the numbers of the combination in order before going to the lock.

      January 2, 2019 at 4:43 pm
  • Reply Marieke

    I am having my 8 year olds birthday party next weekend and this is perfect!!
    Thank you so much for the inspiration. I love escape rooms myself, but I’d never think of doing it for my kids. I am sure they are going to have a lot of fun!

    January 13, 2019 at 7:18 pm
    • Reply Nicole

      Woohooo! I know they will love it. Let us know how it goes. =)

      January 14, 2019 at 11:14 pm
      • Reply Marieke

        They really loved it! They were all very excited and played together great.
        They were even teaming up, like, you can go puzzle, we will go find more clues.
        We used a suitcase with a number lock for the last code and filled it with a small gift en some treats for all of them. It was a hit!
        My daughter had an amazing party, thank you very much!!

        January 18, 2019 at 8:47 pm
  • Reply Sara

    Do you have results for crack the code riddle? I just want to make sure I’m right hahah

    June 13, 2019 at 3:00 pm
    • Reply Nicole

      The answer to the Crack the Code Riddle is 042

      July 12, 2019 at 5:35 pm
  • Reply Karma

    great post!!!!

    February 25, 2020 at 11:53 am
  • Reply Greg Escaper

    If you want inductive reasoning to improve your child then you should send him for an escape room. It will challenge him physically so that he is more mentally strong.

    April 6, 2020 at 10:00 pm
  • Reply Mama Bear

    This is awesome! Thank you. My kids will love this.

    May 1, 2020 at 3:27 pm
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