Playing Escape Rooms with Children
Escape rooms are a great family activity! From the moment the clock starts, all the way through to the end of the mission, your family will be engaged with each other, communicating with each other, and solving puzzles together, without the distraction of cell phones or video games. Families often describe it as the best family-bonding time that they have ever had!
Here at The Escape Hatch, we welcome children of all ages, and children under 4 are free. While HaZard Pay may be too intense for some young children, Exit Protocol and Bubba’s Basement Bargains are both family-friendly and have some puzzles that children 7 and over can help with.
The best family experiences in an escape room happen when the adults go into the room with the right expectations and the goal of helping their child get the most enjoyment out of the experience. With that in mind, we have compiled this list of tips to help your family maximize your escape room fun:
- Know your child: Older children can explore the room independently, while younger ones often need specific guidance on what to look for. Pro tip: if your young child is not into puzzles, bring something else for them to do like a coloring book or an iPad.
- Give them a job to do: If your child needs specific guidance in the room, give them a job to do. Good jobs for younger kids include flashlight-holder, entering codes and using keys to open locks, and searching for items. In fact, children are usually the best searchers in the room!
- Be patient: Take a few extra moments to explain a puzzle to your child or allow them to contribute their thoughts on a solution. Children also usually need more time to input a combination into a lock. You may be tempted to take over for them if they are taking too long, but don’t do it. The sense of accomplishment they have when the lock opens is priceless!
- Let them trigger the “Wow!” moments: If you believe that completing a certain action is going to trigger something, let them do it. This will create a memory that neither of you are likely to forget!
- It’s ok if they are not involved in every puzzle: Each child has their own likes and strengths. If they don’t seem interested in a certain puzzle, don’t force them to participate. There will likely be other puzzles in the room that they are very interested in.
- Listen to your child’s ideas: As gamemasters, we frequently hear children give helpful insight into solving puzzles that adults tend to overthink, and sometimes even correct answers to the puzzles, but they are often ignored by the adults in the room. If your child speaks up, take a moment to listen and seriously consider what they are saying. They just might be right!
- Monitor your child: Children often get very excited in escape rooms. This is normal, but it is the adult’s responsibility to make sure that they are following all of the safety rules. Make sure to listen to the pre-game briefing from your gamemaster, and that your child is listening too. Always pay attention to your child to make sure that they are not using too much force and not touching things that they shouldn’t be.
With these tips and insights, your next (or first) escape room game should be a very enjoyable and memorable experience for your whole family.