Escape Room 2018

We had so much fun with last year’s escape room that we decided to do another one this year. We chose the day before Thanksgiving which, in retrospect, might not have been the best day to do it. Some kids weren’t able to come due to holiday travel plans. Regardless, we had twenty kids participate.

This year’s theme was “Escape from the Art Gallery.” There were six puzzles for the kids to solve. The final puzzle’s answer opened a locked box full of candy. We’ve found candy to be a better incentive for kids to solve puzzles rather than, say, boiled spinach.

We had a variety of locks for the kids to open. To find the key or combination they had to solve puzzles. Can you see the hidden key in the picture below? 

The key opened the art portfolio –

which contained two missing pictures which, when put in order, opened a directional combination lock. 

Four locked boxes held the clues needed to solve the final puzzle. 

The last puzzle was a math problem. They had to figure out what year the painter of “Eye of the Tiger” was born. Her birth year opened the combination on the box of candy. 

The artist who painted Eye of the Tiger is Nicole Toth, my daughter. Before painting this, she had only done pencil sketches, some of which were published in an art journal when she was in high school. This was her first painting.

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Our Great Escape

I’ve heard about Escape Rooms in the past, but I’d never considered putting one together for kids until I read this post over at The Lego Librarian. I was intrigued with the idea, and so, following that blog’s lead, I plunged right in.

Escape rooms are physical adventure games in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. (Wikipedia)

I had a lot of fun putting the game together and inventing the character of Serena Black, a grumpy librarian who locks noisy kids in the library basement. But the true test would be the kids. Would they like it? The answer: Yes, they did! (Whew!)

Mainly, I wanted it to be a fun event. Looking back, I now realize that it was educational, too. Good observational skills are a must. To keep things orderly, I emphasized that they couldn’t simply ransack the room looking for keys. They had to use their eyes and their minds. I told them that almost all of the puzzles and clues were right there in front of them. My mantra for that day became: Solve a puzzle, find a key.

The main goal of our Escape Room was to solve five puzzles in 30 minutes or less in order to acquire a key that would open a locked box. Three of the locked boxes contained pieces of the final puzzle. Once the final puzzle was solved, they acquired the last key which opened a locked box full of Halloween candy. At that point they had, in effect, escaped from the basement of the library.

Our Escape Room

The end goal = Unlock the box full of – Candy!!

Ms Serena Black’s desk, including a locked box and one of the puzzles – a picture of Serena on which I’d written a clue in invisible ink.

The clock was actually the “key” which would open one of the boxes.

Yet another locked box containing a riddle to solve.

A bookshelf containing two locked boxes and a hidden key.

Biohazard tape -because it’s fun and mysterious.

Another bookshelf in which the key to the candy box is hidden!

Final puzzle – a (fake) call number

Sign language puzzle, spelling out the word – pumpkin