Escape rooms are not only the latest craze, but a tool that can help kids work towards their learning goals. An escape room is a challenge that allows kids to work together solving a variety of puzzles in order to “break out” of a room. There are different “reasons” for why kids are locked it. Sometimes, zombies have taken over while other times, the teacher have shut the school down. After each puzzle is solved, they will get a clue that leads them to a new location. Each new location includes a keyword to win or “escape” the room and a new puzzle.
Here are ten reasons why you should be using escape room challenges with your learners:
1. Kids use teamwork skills. Kids work together to accomplish a common goal. Because there is limited adult interaction during an escape room challenge, kids are left to figure out how best to use each other their own skills to work as a team.
2. It helps to encourage critical thinking skills. Directions are given, but kids are on their own to figure out a variety of puzzles and challenges. Kids have to use their critical thinking skills to think outside the box and solve problems to get to the next round.
3. They are interactive. Each puzzle and challenge is different, interactive, and fun. Kids have to figure out secret codes, put puzzles together, and more. It’s really anything but boring.
4. They involve some fun role-play and imagination. In some escape rooms, kids pretend the school has been taken over by aliens or that the teachers have revolted. It’s a little bit silly but a lot of fun. The older kids gets, the more we veer away from the world of make-believe. It’s a great experience once in a while to pretend.
5. Kids work on actual skills. You can incorporate topics and curriculum right into the actual puzzles and challenges. For example, if you are learning about organization, one “puzzle” might include the steps of organizing your binder. When kids put those together, they find a “code” or “phrase” that brings them to the next level. Kids can work on many skills, from conflict resolution to executive functioning skills and more. It becomes a meaningful and memorable experience for kids while they are learning the skills they need.
6. The kids become the leaders. In a well-designed escape room activity, kids are the ones doing all the work. They are completely in charge. How often does that really happen in a classroom? They become the leaders instead of relying on an adult to help them when things get tough.
7. They build perseverance. Ultimately, it is up to the kids to figure out every single challenge. The teacher can choose to provide “Clue Cards” to help kids with their questions along the way, or encourage kids to figure things out entirely on their own. Sometimes that means they have to keep trying at a puzzle until they get the right answer.
8. They encourage time management skills. In an escape room challenge, you choose how long students have to complete the entire activity. That means kids have to use use their time well with each challenge to finish before the timer goes off.
9. You don’t need any special supplies. All you need are some challenges and puzzles put together that lead to more challenges along the way. While you’re welcome to include a locked box or invisible ink, you really don’t need any fancy supplies to put together you own challenges.
10. Accommodations can be made so that all students can participate. Whether you include “Clue Cards” to give away hints for some groups or a tracking sheet to help kids remember their clues along the way, there are simple adaptations that can be made to ensure that all students have fun while learning in an escape room challenge.
You can go ahead and make your own escape room challenges or find sets already put together. If you are curious about trying some Escape Room activities that are already put together, be sure to check out the following:
Give kids an escape room challenge for a memorable experience they won’t forget. Whatever you choose, you know you’ll have fun learning!