3 Educational Reasons to Make an Escape Room Your Next Family Fun Event

I’ve known about escape rooms for some time now. And a couple of my kids had the opportunity to do an escape room with friends at a birthday party. But I hadn’t played through an escape room until recently. Now that I have, however, I love the challenge. And I’ve seen how educational an escape room game can be.

If you’re looking for your next family adventure, an escape room is not only fun, it has educational value as well. Here’s a look at the particulars of playing through an escape room and three reasons why an escape room can be your next educational family adventure.

Looking for something different for your next fun #family outing? Try an #escaperoom game. Not only are they fun, they have #educational benefits as well! #homeschooling #AsWeWalk
Disclosure: We received free tickets to play in exchange for a post. All opinions are always my own.

Our family recently had the opportunity to play an escape room game at a local site- Breakout Charlotte– with the result of great challenge and great fun. And I’m also sharing more about this awesome escape room in this post as well.

An Escape Room Explained

If you’ve heard of the escape room trend but never really known what an escape room was, here’s an escape room primer.

An escape room is a game where players are “locked” in a room and have a set amount of time- typically one hour- to solve a puzzle that will unlock the room and let them escape. There is a story that goes along with the game. It’s typically some kind of kidnapping or crime to solve. We’ve also played games where players are “trapped” in a situation where they will run out of oxygen or blow up if they can’t get free.

Some of the games we’ve played are scary and intense and might not be great for young family members, but there are some that are a little more light and would be good for anyone. Breakout Charlotte doesn’t have an age limit, but kids under 14 need to be with a parent or guardian. The games we’ve played are typically for around 6-8 players- which is perfect for our family of six.

Although there is usually one main, final puzzle that will free players from the room, there are many smaller puzzles that lead up to it. There are locked cabinets, desks, and other furniture pieces. There may be hidden crevices behind things on the wall. Everything you need to solve all the puzzles is in the room with you, and you cannot use your own resources- like cell phones- to help you solve them.

In the room, you might find charts on the wall, cryptic letters written around the room, letters and notes, and other things that you will use to solve puzzles- even though you won’t understand how to use them at first. The Runaway Train room we played at Breakout Charlotte included things like ticket stubs, dining receipts, and menus that we learned contained answers we needed as we went along.

The most common type of escape rooms are the sites that have actual physical rooms that you are “locked” into, but there are also some virtual reality escape room games, and we’ve gotten some escape room board games that were lots of fun as well.

Educational Benefits of an Escape Room

Playing through an escape room requires critical thinking.

Both escape rooms that we’ve done through Breakout Charlotte have required enormous amounts of critical thinking. The answers aren’t obvious. Sometimes the puzzles aren’t even obvious. To solve an escape room requires players to think critically.

Often in an escape room, one puzzle depends on the solution to other puzzles, so players have to use problem solving and critical thinking skills to figure out what to do with the information they received when they solved a part of the puzzle. They also have to look beyond the obvious when trying to figure out solutions.

Solving an escape room requires players to work together.

One of the escape room struggles we fell into was immediately spreading out and each going our own way- “Oh look! This puzzle will give us a number code!”, “Hey, is there anything in those coat pockets?”, “Look at this chart! I think it’s Morse Code!”. It’s tempting to do this when you head into an escape room because there are so many different pieces of the puzzle to solve before you ever make it to the final solution. Too often we found ourselves divided up trying to singularly solve a tough puzzle when the solution was reached once we just put our pieces together.

We had to realize our need to work together, and although it was useful to divide up and each work on solving particular puzzles, we had to look at how those puzzles tied in together and admit when we needed help to solve the particular puzzle we were working on. Once we did this and found a rhythm, it was easier to solve some of the challenges.

Many of the challenges in the rooms require math and language skills.

The recent escape room that we played- Runaway Train at Breakout Charlotte– required a good bit of math and contained a couple of word puzzles as well. My kids groaned to see the math, but it was a good way to point out the need for math skills in real life- at least in puzzle solving. Most of the math was pretty basic, but there was long multiplication involved, and some of the puzzles were like complicated math word problems (which also required reading comprehension).

Because you’re not typically allowed to have anything from your own bags- including cell phones- both escape rooms we’ve played at Breakout Charlotte had marker boards accessible. These could be used for writing down numbers or letters to solve the particular puzzles. We learned to write problems and words small so that we could continue to use the board without erasing something we might need in the future.

Looking for something different for your next fun #family outing? Try an #escaperoom game. Not only are they fun, they have #educational benefits as well! #homeschooling #AsWeWalk

Playing the Runaway Train room at Breakout Charlotte

There were several things that were particularly cool about the Runaway Train room at Breakout Charlotte. I have to be careful not to give spoilers, but I’ll share a few things we that were awesome.

The story behind the Runaway Train was that we were on a train headed for the busy city. There was a bomb on the train that would go off inside the city wreaking havoc and destruction if we couldn’t stop the train and disarm the bomb. We had to get inside the conductors cabin, stop the train, and stop the bomb from exploding to get out of the room.

  • There was audio and video periodically that explained the story line and gave clues. We had to make sure that we stopped and listened closely when this came on.
  • The room was very well made and really looked like the inside of a train car.
  • Inside the conductor’s cabin, there was a working dashboard, and puzzles that required really manipulating it. It was very “techy” and realistic looking.
  • We liked this game and the other we played at Breakout Charlotte because you have a guide who has video and audio into your room and will give hints as you ask. Everyone in the room must agree before hints will be given, but our guide was good at leading us to the answer instead of just giving answers.
If you’re convinced that an escape room would be great for your next fun family outing, you can check out Breakout Charlotte. And if you aren’t in the Charlotte area, Breakout has game facilities in other parts of the country as well. Just choose a location at the top of their web page. An escape room is lots of fun, promotes the family working together, and is an educational experience as well.

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