February in the Rocky Mountains is snowy and cold. Cabin fever is a real thing this time of year. We added a little sunshine to life with a Valentine’s lock box style ‘Escape Room’.
Our lock box style ‘Escape Room’ was inspired by a Breakout EDU class I attended at a Google Summit Conference a few years ago.
The night before Valentine’s day, I created 6 puzzles for the kids to solve. By solving the puzzles they would discover the combinations to the 6 locks and find their Valentine’s Day presents.
(At the end of this post is a free 5 page pdf download with instructions, puzzles, lock combinations, and print outs for this Lock Box Escape Room.)
These puzzles were created for elementary aged kids with team work, fun, and critical thinking in mind.
The story to kick off the lock box adventure is important. I typically freeze at this point, choosing instead to scour the web for a complete escape room bundle. This time I pressed through and created my own. The creation process was SO MUCH FUN! It was almost as fun as watching the kids solve all the puzzles!
The Story: Today is a VERY special day. There is a small present for each of you. Being the grumpy gnome that I am… I locked your gifts in this box and left a trail of puzzles for you to solve. If you solve the puzzles the box will be opened and you can have your presents. However, I made the puzzles pretty difficult. I hope your brains are ready to work. Best of luck to you! Sincerely, The Grumpy Gnome
Puzzle #1: A key lock was placed on the lock box. The key was submersed in a glass jar with a mixture of water and green food coloring. The note was taped to the jar informing the participants the liquid was to not be touched, and a strong magnet was set nearby. Next time, I would set the magnet and jar apart from each other to increase the difficulty of the puzzle.
They deduced the magnet needed to be placed on the outside of the glass in order to lift the key out of the jar. The girls were insistent on washing the key off with water before touching the key. 😂
Puzzle #2: Magnetic letters were gathered to spell a 5 letter word that would open the 5 digit word lock. The word I initially wanted was honey… But there was no ‘H’ on the 1st ring of letters. Instead the code was changed to ‘MONEY’. (Always purchase resettable locks!)
With Tony’s help the riddle and 5 letters were stuffed into a 12 inch gold balloon prior to inflating it. The first 2 balloons ended up with holes… The 3rd time it worked! Important note… have spare balloons on hand.
This was the first puzzle they grabbed. It was fun watching them get to the puzzle inside the balloon. They used scissors to pop the balloon.
The Riddle: Printed on paper, or sometimes it’s round. Put me in a piggy bank, never on the ground.
Puzzle #3: On 6 craft sticks I wrote out the words Right, Right, Left, & Down. This is the combination for the directional lock. (A 2nd option: the same puzzle is found in printable form below with the free pdf).
Side note: Be very careful when resetting directional locks. Once I reset this directional lock amidst normal every day chaos. I did not set it correctly. Miraculously after 10 minutes of messing with the lock I broke into my own lock. Never reset it surrounded by chaos.
Puzzle #4: The Pompom puzzle was created by placing 6 yellow, 3 pink, 4 red, and 6 purple pompoms in the bowl. Other colored pompoms were mixed in. A paper with 4 color coded boxes helps participants to know which pompoms to count. The 4 digit lock was reset to open for the number of each pompom 6-3-4-6.
The girls paused and let Marshall, the 2 year old, sort the pompoms. He was so excited to participate! This is a perfect example of how a lock box escape room can help build awareness of others, team work, and critical thinking skills!
Puzzle #5: What is a lock box activity without adding a little math review? Jozlin is working on long division. Zaylee is working on three digit subtraction with “regrouping”… (I call it borrowing. Old school I know.)
The two problems used are included in the pdf. (These can easily be changed to reflect what your students are learning in math right now. )
Once solved the two 2-digit answers were placed together in order to open the second 4 digit lock. A little trial and error is needed to figure out which answer to enter first.
Puzzle #6: Last but not least, a little scripture chase! Slips of paper were laid out with a Bible. Written out on each slip was a scripture verse with a blank to fill in.
They had to find the answers to these questions: How old was Abraham when Isaac was born?How old was Jesus Christ when he was baptized? How many of each clean animal was Noah commanded to put on the Ark?
The 3 digit lock combination was obtained by adding the 3 numbers together.
The pompom puzzle clue was placed in a purse and locked shut with a 3 digit lock.
It was fun watching the girls work together to search the scriptures for answers.
After creating and printing everything I realized the lock box was too small to hold the Valentine’s gifts… It was past my bedtime. Instead of correcting the story, a note was placed inside the box directing them to the location of the gifts! 😂
A digital download to allow you to simply enjoy this lock box escape room with your kids!
Create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether that is in the form of a lock box escape room or playing in the snow; get out there and make the most of this moment.