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Bringing Kids to an Escape Room

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Bringing Kids to an Escape Room

Bringing Children to an Escape Room?
Here are 9 Strategies and Tips

Y ou may be considering whether or not to include kids in your next escape room endeavor, or perhaps you want to incorporate an escape room as a part of your child’s birthday celebration. While it may seem an ambitious and almost daunting concept, bringing kids along to play through an escape room is manageable and quite feasible to engage them along the way! They could be your children, their friends, your siblings, your friends’ kids, or other young folks in your life. As always, please procure parental/guardian permission before bringing children (that are not yours) along to an escape room.

Why bring kids?

Firstly, escape rooms are great bonding experiences for all players, as they require cooperation and creative problem solving. This is a great way to engage with the kids in your life and build not only trust but deeper connections with each other.


Secondly, kids are crazy creative! As adults, we tend to have a more narrow focus when it comes to approaching any given puzzle or problem; kids have a proclivity to think outside the box when something isn’t clicking right away. Don’t underestimate their puzzling prowess! 

bringing kids to an escape room

Thirdly, there are a lot of soft skills that can be developed and modeled in the process of completing an escape room: communication, problem solving, teamwork, knowing when to ask for help, remaining calm while working under pressure, time management, etc. Working together with these skills in play will lay the foundation for greater growth and guidance with the kiddos in your life.

Lastly, this is a fun and immersive activity to get everyone out of the house safely together! You can read about our Covid Safe Practices here.


Before Booking Your Escape Room

Consider the ages

How old are the kiddos in your group? Are they around the same age or is there a wider range? If you feel like you may have a harder time managing the kids in your group, perhaps consider enlisting the help of another adult or even waiting a year or so to bring them until they are a bit more mature. At the end of the day, we want everyone of all ages to feel like they are contributing and enjoying themselves, not walking away frustrated or feeling ignored.

Research

Look into what scenarios are offered at an escape room; check to see if they provide descriptions as well as offer photos from inside the scenario to get a better idea of what you’re getting yourself into. Take into consideration that some themes may be a bit more mature than others, which may not be the best choice for younger players. Contact the escape room you plan to visit with questions or concerns you may have, as well as seeking guidance as to which room to do for your group. Ask your younger teammates for input on which scenario they’re interested in and involve them with the decision making process; this will help build anticipation and excitement for when you do play your escape room together. If it’s their (or yours, too) first time in an escape room, watch some videos together about what escape rooms entail, and warm up your brains by playing through puzzles or solving riddles together.
bringing children to an escape room

Discuss expectations and guidelines

With your younger teammates, set forth some basic group dynamics. On top of the rules for that escape room, we suggest rules like these:
 
  • - No running or pushing
  • - No taking clues or props from someone else’s hands
  • - No whining or screaming
  • - Pick a code word to say during your game to regroup or if you discover a new clue to focus on
  • - Establish turn taking for opening locks or pushing buttons (great if you have more than one child in your group)
 
As the adult of the group, you’ll want to set forth some guidelines for yourself when in an escape room with kids. They want to help and have a lot of energy! As eager as you may be to handle props and open locks, let them be the first to discover and interact with something new. Be prepared to have patience to go at their level and pace. You are there to guide and support them throughout this experience.

During Your Escape Room

Incorporate

At the end of the day, all humans want to feel valued and included; what better way to do so than by inviting them in to your puzzling endeavors? Kids are so excited and willing to help with you as their guide. Depending on their age, kids can take on any multitude of puzzles and tasks: looking in odd places for hidden items, opening locks, finding patterns in clues, etc. From our end of running games, we constantly see kids thriving when they are included in the discovery and puzzling process; oftentimes they are the ones finding the creative solution that most adults may not catch on to right away. Listen to their ideas, validate their concerns and feelings, and work together to get through the game.

Encourage

Offer verbal support and empower the kids in your group to keep up their motivation and drive; an hour can seem like a long time for younger folks. Use positive and uplifting language and validate their ideas. Help them think and talk through their ideas.

Breathe

When energies and stress levels are high in the room, kids will look to you for how to carry themselves; take deep breaths and be the example of how to handle stressful environments. You can do this!

After Your Escape Room

Support

Always provide words of support and appreciation. Acknowledge their strengths and how they contributed to the progress of your escape room experience. Let them know how you enjoyed working together as a team.

Celebrate

Regardless of the outcome, this is a great teachable moment for you to model how to accept defeat graciously and revel in victory tactfully. Celebrate afterwards perhaps by getting a treat or spending some quality time together talking through play-by-play moments in your game.
A family in a western setting from the escape room scenario Duel at Dusk from New Mexico Escape Room in Albuquerque, NM

Make Plans

Talk about which scenario you would like to play next! Discuss how you can incorporate different strategies and things to be mindful of based on your previous experience. If you’ve made it to this point in our blog post, use the promo code KIDSRULE for 10% your next booking for any of our scenarios through June 30, 2021. We’d love to see you come try one of our scenarios with the kids in your life!

What ages are best?

Ultimately, it really depends on the kiddo, their maturity and level of focus, how many kids you plan to have in your group, what experience you all want to have, and how much energy you are willing to put forth to keep them engaged while solving the puzzles at hand. Regardless, all are welcome at NM Escape Room.

Ages 0 - 6 : In general at NM Escape Room, we do not charge for kiddos ages 6 and under as there is not too much that they can contribute with regards to solving puzzles, but you still can have them help with simple tasks, like pressing buttons or talking through puzzles and what you see. Do keep in mind that for this younger age range, it may require more patience and involvement on your end for managing your kiddos, taking away your mental energies from working through the room itself. If this is something you feel that you cannot manage, perhaps consider bringing on another adult to help or bringing the kids when they are older.

Ages 7 - 12 : We do require at least one adult participating in the scenario alongside the kids to help guide them and keep them focused. This age range is quite excitable and loves to help, but they do benefit from adult leadership. Be prepared to have more patience and willingness to help the kids come up with their own solutions, even if you may think it’s wrong. 

Ages 13+ : This tends to be the age range that can handle a wider variety of puzzles and tasks and handle most if not all themes out there. Some groups around this age may prefer to go through an escape room on their own (for us, they can so long as an adult remains on the premises unless they drive themselves), but escape rooms are a great chance for you and your teens to work together and strengthen your bond. 


Which scenario(s) should we play?

Here at NM Escape Room, we provide an array of themes and difficulty levels among our six scenarios. Some are better suited for younger players than others. When determining which of our scenarios to choose, take into consideration their interests, how much of a challenge your group wants, how scary/intense a scenario is, your group size and age ranges, etc. You can view all of our scenarios here reading descriptions and seeing photos from inside. 

An important thing to be mindful of is how your child handles theatrical fear; don’t overestimate their threshold for scarier concepts and themes. Maybe they love horror, but on the other hand, maybe they’re easily spooked. Either way, keep this in mind when thinking about a horror themed scenario like the Cabin and Blackwell Manor. These two scenarios, however, are fairly popular among teens, but are more intense and not as enjoyable for grade school aged kids and little ones.

Some of the scenarios we offer are more engaging for a broader age range with the themes and puzzle styles. Duel at Dusk is a great scenario for not only first time players, but multi-generational groups! While it’s on the beginner's side, by no means is it an “easy” scenario; however, there are some puzzles in this scenario that kids tend to discover the solutions for faster than adults do at times. Duel at Dusk has a handful of cooperative elements and puzzles, which are great to get everyone involved especially if you have younger kids and a wider age range of players. Super Secret is a thematically exciting scenario for all ages; it is an intermediate level scenario with some tougher puzzles, but it does also have some cooperative elements to get those kids working together with you. Kiddos (and adults!) love meeting J.A.R.F.R.E.D. in this scenario!

Other scenarios we have are more challenging with puzzles and thematically a bit more mature. Bombshell is a great scenario to come with older kids (12+) as it’s a challenging mafia/bomb defusal situation with more physical tasks to complete; as such, it might not be as engaging for younger kids. Nefertari’s Tomb is our toughest scenario and there are a lot of puzzles and tasks to complete in this advanced player Egyptian tomb. It may be better to come with older kids, but with the right organization and cooperation, this room could be good for groups with a wider age range up for a hearty challenge.


Closing Thoughts

Escape rooms can be a great opportunity to connect with the kids in your life and help them grow with their confidence and critical thinking. With the right mindset and prep work, you can easily incorporate kids in your puzzling endeavors, allowing for everyone to escape from the stressors of the real world and immerse yourselves in a thrilling experience!