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Kenzie really wanted to try an Escape Room. For the last few months, she kept asking me to lock her in a room with clues. I mean, okay…I’m happy to lock her in a room and go about re-living my pre-parenthood life, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what she had in mind.

So then I Googled “escape rooms near me.” This also did not work, because most Escape Room story lines are about ghastly crimes, spooky paranormal activity, or other themes not appropriate for a sweet natured second grader.

But then I found these amazing, free, family-friendly escape room activities that Whole Brain Escape created for a Parks and Rec Department in Apex, North Carolina. All you have to do is enter in your email address, and they’ll send you four “escape room” style games! We played the first one, Peak Summer Puzzler. It was a blast, and super easy to set up. All I had to do was print out the document, hide the puzzles and clues, and help Kenzie out with a few words.

First, I printed out the puzzles. I folded each puzzle up and gave them some washi tape flair. There were six puzzles total. In order to win the game, Kenzie had to solve every puzzle.

The solution to every puzzle was a number, and if she put the numbers in the right order, she’d win the game! I added a fun, tactile twist to the game by incorporating an old lock and key from a suitcase. If Kenzie cracked the number code, she’d get the key to the lock. If she unlocked the lock, she’d find a small prize (in this case, a cute doughnut Jibitz that she’d been wanting).

I also wanted to hide each puzzle, so that she’d have to run around to different parts of the house. I used Post-It’s to create visual clues. Every time Kenzie found a puzzle, she’d get a new clue that would help her find the next puzzle. For example, I hid the first puzzle in a rolled up yoga mat. To start the game, I gave her a Post-It with a spiral on it. She had to think about where she could find spirals in the house. I was surprised, as it only took her about two minutes to figure it out.

This particular Escape Room was perfect for 7-year-old Kenzie. While the reading level was probably better suited for a fourth-grader, the concepts were easily grasped by a second-grader. I just had to read the puzzles to her, but she was able to solve the puzzles pretty much all on her own, with just a tiny bit of prompting.

She absolutely loved the entire game, and I think it really boosted her confidence to solve all those puzzles.

I’ve got three more “escape rooms” left from Whole Brain Escape, and I’m saving those for a cold winter day. In fact, we all loved the experience so much, I ended up buying one of their board games, “Crack the Quizzler’s Code.” And in just a few years, she’ll be all trained up for a real escape room and I think that we’ll definitely make a road trip out to Apex to visit their store in person. 🙂


Distracted, working mom seeking short escapes from a hectic life via quick crafts and fast food. Sure, she could meditate, after she cleans the house.

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