Tween Programming–Escape Room in the Library: YEAR 2


The escape room that we made last year was so much fun that I knew that we had to do it again.  But we can’t just do the same one, that would be boring and kids would already know most of the answers.  So I knew we had to start from scratch.  That sounds really daunting but once you’ve made one, making another one is SO much easier.

When I was designing the new theme, I knew I didn’t want to do a crazy librarian’s office like I did last year, EVERYTHING would have to be new.  So if you ever end up designing your own escape room, remember this rule: go with what you already have.  Don’t go out and buy a bunch of new stuff to fit a theme that you’ll never use again.  Whatever’s collecting dust in your basement will often make for great set dressing for your room, and you can build the theme around that.

So remembering that, I knew what my new theme would be: an art gallery!  We have a bunch of big mats and frames in our basement that I use to hang artwork for our Youth Art Show.  So what we’ll do is turn our event space into an art gallery with original photos and artwork, which is used to solve the puzzles.  BOOM!!

I liked that last year’s room didn’t involve anyone actually “breaking out” or escaping.  So again the end goal would be to open a locked box of candy.  So this brings us to the next design rule: work backwards.  Last year, our kiddos had to solve three puzzles to find a key.  Since most of the groups figured it out fairly easily, I thought this time I would up the stakes and have them solve four puzzles.

Again, it helps to draw out a map of all your puzzles.  Currently mine looks like this:


Puzzle 1

I found this directional lock on Amazon and I started working on a puzzle to incorporate it.

directional lock.jpg

I decided that one of our gallery walls would have three pictures of people pointing in different directions.  The directions that they point would be the answer to the first lock.

This is just a stand in till I shoot the actual photos.
Puzzle 1.jpgOne of the portraits will be locked away somehow, and I’m thinking I have the key hidden in a collage painting.


Once they find that key, they can unlock the missing portrait, put all four together and eventually figure out that the four portraits give the answer to the first lock.

Puzzle 2

The idea for the second puzzle came from this other lock I found online.  I knew I wanted to incorporate the colors somehow.

Color Lock.jpg

My idea to unlock this lock will be a little complicated, but I’ll try to explain it the best I can.

Let’s say the solution to this the lock is “1 2 3 4.”  I plan on putting out a portrait that looks something like this–the answer to the lock jumbled up with 4 shapes surrounding them.

Puzzle 2.jpg

In the room will also be 4 statues of some sort, which are going to be the key to unlocking the puzzle.  The base of each statue will be a perfect outline to one of the corresponding shapes.  Each statue will also be painted a color corresponding to the lock!  So if the solution is “1 2 3 4” and I’m going off of the lock pictured above, the red statue will have a square base, and the green statue will have an oval base, and so on.

I think this one is going to stump kids, so I’ll probably have some sort of clue hidden away to get them thinking about this one.


One thought on “Tween Programming–Escape Room in the Library: YEAR 2

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: