Organising a day out for a family with kids is tough, and doubly so if you have several different ages to consider. Think about escape rooms: not only are they fun for the whole family, but they also teach your young ones some useful problem-solving skills and boost their self-esteem as they contribute to the “common cause”. However, some preparation on your part is necessary to make a breakout escape room enjoyable for all members of the family, great and small.
Preparing for an Escape Room Experience: First Things First
Before you start planning your day out, make sure your kids will enjoy the experience. To do so, you may try downloading a video game with similar setup on your smartphone or tablet. This will let you know if your children are ready for this type of entertainment and will not lose stamina in the middle of the game.
Chances are, if your children enjoy the video game, they will love a real-life breakout escape room even more!
Second, spend some time on teaching them some basic problem-solving techniques. This includes such skills as identifying the problem; thinking about the ways to solve it; cooperating with other people an, finally, trying the solution. There are various sources that can help you find sample tasks and guidelines to approach them available online and in your local library.
Choosing an Escape Room: Things to Consider Before You Go
It is important to do your homework to avoid possible hassles. Here’s a checklist of things you should consider before booking a breakout escape room.
- Study the escape room’s FAQ for age restrictions and any other requirements specifying adult supervision. Keep in mind that some escape rooms are 16+ or 18+. If you’ll be accompanying children other than your own, make sure you have all the necessary documents with you: many escape rooms will require that you have signed parental waivers and strictly enforce this policy.
- Spend some time on reading reviews on local boards, TripAdvisor and other independent sources. First-hand experience from other parents is invaluable to warn you about some not so obvious issues that may require your attention.
- Choose a breakout escape room that is conveniently located in close proximity to your preferred restaurants, or check beforehand if they offer food and drink on site (and make sure they cater to specific needs such as food allergies or food sensitivities). Significant mental and physical effort is likely to increase appetite after you break out of the room!
- Try to avoid escape rooms that group your family with strangers. This will guarantee safe environment for your children where they can work according to their own rhythm without competing in mental agility with players twice their age.
- Last but not least, consider your kids’ preferences when choosing a breakout escape room. The theme of the room should resonate with their taste in movies, books, and television. That is, choosing a pirate-themed escape room for a die-hard Harry Potter fans may be frustrating, and vice versa. On the other hand, make sure that the activity is interesting and appealing to all members of the family.
More Than Just a Game
Escape rooms are a great experience, but they offer much more than just family entertainment and bonding. Practicing problem-solving skills stimulates your children’s logical thinking and boosts their self-esteem (in fact, it works both ways).
Doing an escape room with a family creates a great environment that helps strengthen children’s sense of family and encourages them to value being a part of it. It also encourages them to try new things and practice new skills, while being praised and rewarded for their effort and achievement creates a strong feeling of community and increases their self-esteem.
This activity also teaches kids to adequately react to failure and treat themselves (and others) kindly if they fail. This is an invaluable lesson that you can teach your children that will prepare them for adulthood. Knowing that no one is perfect is extremely important: this will help your young ones handle tough situations without slipping into self-deprecation, making for a healthier self-esteem.
That said, breaking out of an escape room is a great way to spend a day out with your family, provided that you put some effort into preparation and planning. Chances are, escape rooms will become one of your favourite family activities that are fun, provide food for thought, hone your problem-solving skills and strengthen family ties.