We all dread seeing our students falling asleep or wanting to escape the classroom out of boredom while we pour our hearts out teaching. Why not spice up your lessons with creating an educational escape room for your little ones? I’ve seen my own children coming home so excited about the escape rooms or break out boxes that their teachers have created in middle school. So, I had to figure out how to create this excitement about learning and teamwork in the elementary classroom setting. It took me some time to wrap my head around how to make it easy enough for a 6 year old, but rigorous enough to meet the benchmarks. Once I figured it out, it was like magic!
Here is an example of how to set one up in your room. First, think of the topic you want to cover. Let’s just say this escape room will focus on sight words. Then come up with two fun tasks you would like the kids to work on together in order to get a clue. For example, plastic bags full of letters that will create sight words that are hidden around the room, or a mystery picture to color using sight words to code the color of the picture. My daughter says that the best part of her escape room experiences (besides opening the box full of treats), was the video they watched as a “hook” that explained a crazy situation of someone capturing them or stealing an item. (Click HERE for an example of a video hook.) So, keeping that in mind you can create a little video, or just make up a story. I like to separate my students into two groups. Each time the students complete a task, they get the next clue inside of an envelope that I read to the class. In this case, the class would use the plastic bags letters to solve sight words. The next clue would lead them to maybe a mystery picture to solve. Then, they get the last clue which leads them to find a key (either paper or a real one to a box) by reading a riddle for them to solve. This riddle could have a code to open a lock that you placed on the box. They will each need their key or code to open the box, which also opens their classroom. They will have to use their imaginations a little. We don’t want to actually lock them in the classroom. Then, once they open the box, I let the students “free” to go to recess or to get a book from the library. Students are encouraged to work together to help each other solve the problems. You could even add QR Codes, black lights, and magnifying glasses to your escape room to change it around for different lessons. Students go home talking about how they found sight words to escape their room. Designing an escape room yourself takes some time, but the benefit is well-worth it!