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I’m a big fan of Escape Room events, including the play-at-home variety. I also teach camps during the summer. I don’t know why it took me so long to put 2 and 2 together, but this summer I’ve got an Escape Room camp on the calendar for kids ages 8-12. The goal is to introduce them to the concept of the Escape Room by playing a game or two and then the kids will design their own for the parents to play on the last day of the camp.
In preparation for the camp, I’ve been evaluating a number of play-at-home kits. To be fair, there are very few that are tailored to kids under the age of 13. I’ll have a few helpers with the camp, and we will certainly provide some hints where we can, but many of the puzzles that I’ve encountered in the kits can be downright devious. That’s not to say we won’t play them, but I do expect to have to provide some clear-cut answers for those puzzles that are just too difficult for my young campers.
One kit, however, should provide the right level of complexity with minimal frustration. It’s called The Lost Mummy: Kids Escape Room Kit, and it’s from Lock Paper Scissors. Below you’ll find a 100% spoiler-free review and explanation for how it works, but I’d also like to give the site a HUGE thumbs up for its walkthrough notes on designing your own Escape Room. My campers are going to love this organized “map” that helps with the brainstorming, design, and preparation.
The Lost Mummy comes as a downloadable kit that you print out on paper. The game is designed for teams of 4-6 players and offers a 45-minute game after 20 minutes of setup (by a non-player I will call the Warden). Players will use printed journals as references as they solve the puzzles, and the Warden will need to download three free fonts (links provided in-game documentation) before printing out all the materials required for the game. While the game is running, players will come to the Warden with their solutions to puzzles; a correct solution will allow the team to continue to the next challenge. Teams will need pen and paper as well as scissors and glue or tape.
As an explorer, you have always loved Egypt. It’s where your great grandfather, Howard Carter, discovered the remains of the ancient pharaoh Tutankhamen.
On a walk beside the River Nile, you and some friends suddenly feel the ground shift beneath you, sending you all tumbling down a stony shaft.
Here’s my favorite part—everything you (the Warden) need to run the game is in a single 18-page PDF file. My local print shop will print color pages for me at $0.30 a copy, so I’m looking at less than $7 per team for printed materials. Your costs may vary, but I cannot imagine they will be much higher if you don’t own a color printer.
With the documentation is a link to a video that shows how to setup all the challenges and on the webpage are walkthroughs for the challenges with their solutions worked out. Honestly, you’ll be impressed with how fast and easy it is to set this game up, and I think 20 minutes may be way too high. The three challenges can be placed on different tables or even in different rooms, and there are puzzles that will require the players to cut out and glue or tape items. It’s very hands-on, but the only thing you (as Warden) need to do for setup is to make certain the 18-page PDF pages are divided up by challenge.
There’s not a time-limit, so no clock is needed. There are options for including actual locks (padlocks, etc.) in the game but they are NOT required.
Bells and Whistles
Here’s where the kit really won me over:
- Posters and Invites — You get full-color posters and invites that you can customize as needed. Change dates, add a birthday boy or girl’s name, etc. The imagery is also suitable for online sharing such as Facebook and other social apps. The posters also include images for taking photos (examples include “CRUSHED IT!” and “VICTORY!”)
- Customizable Puzzles — You can run the kit as is OR if you have PowerPoint you can go in and modify the puzzles, making them easier or harder or changing solutions so you can use the puzzles again.
- Spotify Playlist — Thematic music for your game!
- 100% Guarantee — Your players will enjoy it or you can ask for your money back.
I’ve read through all the documents and examined all the puzzles and challenges. As Warden, I have no doubt the kids are going to LOVE this. The puzzles are fun and will provide a nice challenge to the younger kids while the older kids will have fun helping and leading. I love the design of the kit—the journals have great graphics and look the part, and I think the campers will enjoy the immersive nature of the game.
The price is perfect, too—$19.99. My camp will have 18 kids in it, so spending about $1/child is a no-brainer. Even better, Lock Paper Scissors has MORE kits for the same age groups—Hack the Room and Escape Quest are also available.
Even if you’re not doing a summer camp, these kits are an incredible experience for a birthday party, a sleepover, or even just a rainy day “I’m bored” activity. Very little time is required by a parent to set it up, and the hands-on activities (and NO electronics) are sure to be a winner with many parents.
When my camp ends, I’ll be doing a follow-up post… and I’ll share my experiences with the campers and how they reacted to these kits. If you’d like more information on any of Lock Paper Scissors’ kits, visit their website at lockpaperscissors.co (NOT .com)
Note: I’d like to thank the crew over at Lock Paper Scissors for offering me the chance to review one of their kits.