Everyone loves the challenge of a great escape room. Escape rooms are exciting, challenging, and encourage team building! But what if I told you that you could have all the adventure of a puzzle room in the comfort of your own home? Here are some tips and tricks to help you create an engaging and fun DIY escape room for your friends and family to enjoy.
Know Your Team
Something to keep in mind when starting to create your escape room is, “Who is this escape room for?” Think about it: an escape room for a children’s birthday party would be wildly different than one planned for an adult’s night without the kids. Not to mention a puzzle room for families would be even more varied than those challenges too!
It is super important to keep “who is this escape room for?” in your mind throughout the creation of your puzzles.
Numbers are another part of a team that is important to keep in mind when it comes to a do-it-yourself escape room. You see, a 5-person team and a team of 10 are quite different. When building your puzzle room, you want to make sure that there are enough of the right kind of activities so that everyone gets a chance to participate as well as let their talents shine!
Determining who the challenge is for and keeping that in mind while planning and creating your puzzle room will make everything else easier for you, promise!
Brainstorm a Theme
Every great escape room starts with a theme, and the possibilities are endless! What are your favorite books, movies, or hobbies? Start there! Do you like murder mysteries? Heist films? Video games? Game of Thrones? Superheroes? It’s all up to you. Picking an awesome theme is the foundation for any puzzle rooms. A story will guide you when picking up supplies and choosing activities, and it will create an immersive experience your friends and family will be talking about for years to come!
Create a Story
Now that you’ve decided on a theme, it’s time to pick a story. It’s simple really: every story has a beginning, middle, and end. Coming up with and outlining a story will help you create puzzles and obstacles that are in line with the theme and transition seamlessly into one another. Simply put, the story is the puzzle room! Without a storyline, completing tasks and solving puzzles in your DIY escape room wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding.
Determine the End Goal
When creating your puzzle room, having a definite ending will leave your friends and family feeling happy and accomplished. If there is no “final goal” it may leave your team with a bad feeling–like watching an ambiguous ending to your favorite TV show kind of bad feeling. It turns out, something as simple as unlocking a door to free a prisoner or opening a locked piece of luggage to obtain the buried treasure will be just enough to leave your team feeling like a winner.
Make it Fun
What is the primary goal of an escape room? The most important thing about puzzle rooms is to have the best and most fun experience! What does that mean for you? Make sure that the challenges are challenging but not too challenging.
Make sure your group can solve the puzzle, but with some effort. If the problems are too easy, your group will disengage with the game, and it won’t be exciting; if a challenge is too hard, major frustration will ensue. Nobody wants to have a room full of extremely frustrated children or adults. Meltdowns can be avoided if you make your DIY escape room challenging yet achievable.
Now if you don’t know where to start when picking activities, be sure to try and incorporate the five senses as well: hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and touching. Maybe your goal would be to include a task of each of these senses to create a fun and interactive puzzle room that will give you an easy and practical guideline for the type of activities you want to include.
Another thing to consider when making your puzzle room the most fun it can be is giving it diversity. Here’s why: solving the same kind of puzzle over and over again would get boring.
Keep your team engaged by making sure there is variation in the types of challenges you pick for your puzzle room. A healthy combination of games, puzzles, and tasks is the absolute best way to keep your group participating and having a fantastic time!
Are you having a difficult time coming up with some activities to include in your DIY puzzle room? Here are some ideas for you:
- Unscramble a word
- Solve a math equation
- Find a pattern
- Search for a hidden image within a picture
- Solve a riddle
- Put together a children’s puzzle
- Put an object “where it belongs,” like a book on a shelf, or a bone in a dog’s bowl
- Use a magnet on a string to pick up metal objects on the floor
- Determine what a clear, mystery liquid is (club soda, lemon-lime soda) by only using taste
- Use a blindfold and discover what the mystery item is utilizing only smell
- Organizing boxes by weight without using a scale
- Mixing water with added food coloring (red, blue, yellow) to create secondary colors (orange, green, purple)
- Follow a “treasure map.”
- Find an object in the dark while using a flashlight
- Shoot a target or an enemy using Nerf guns
- Complete a task while being tied to another team member
- Throw colored balls into their corresponding buckets
- Already-made games, like Jenga and adding your twist
- Relay races
If setting up your DIY puzzle room for your next family event or corporate team building activity seems a little daunting, or you want to get some ideas to get you started, come on down to Trapped Puzzle Rooms and they will take care of everything for you!