One of the first questions I’m usually asked when I’m explaining the concept of an escape room is, “What ages are escape games best for?”
That sounds like a simple question, but the answer is a lot more complicated than you might think.
Escape games started off as a form of entertainment that was largely meant for adults. These rooms can be hard—brutal, even—and most of them require a significant amount of mental work in order to escape. But just like any other industry, escape rooms are rapidly catching the attention of the age group with the most free time to spare—children!
This presents a unique challenge for escape room owners. Is it necessary to build an easier escape room that’s specifically meant for children? Is it more profitable? Or is there a way to adapt games to accommodate players of all ages?
At Escape Game LI, we’ve hosted everything from kids birthday parties to bachelorette parties to general family fun. The Mysterious Time Warp might have a birthday party in the morning, and a wedding proposal later that night. But that kind of versatility takes a lot of work, and a lot of special staff.
Designing a game for children isn’t easy; it’s more than remembering to keep everything within reach. Children’s minds work in very different ways than adults’ do. Sometimes this is actually an advantage. Many tricks in our escape rooms are simple—so simple in fact, that adults look right past the solution and look for something more complicated. I’ve seen children solve some of our hardest puzzles without a single clue, puzzles that some adults can stare at for twenty minutes without an inkling of what’s going on.
However, sometimes the tricks are complicated. In a children’s escape game, you cannot rely on any sort of outside knowledge, or expect an abundance of abstract thinking. With this in mind, the typical structure of an adult escape game goes out the window. Many adults want to win by “the rules”—one hour, three clues, no extra help. But locking a party of children in a room, limiting them to three clues and hoping that they get out is simply not an option—at least not if your goal is to host a fun party.
A kids escape room is much more hands-on than an adult escape room might be. Our game masters spend more time inside of the game rooms, playing along with the children and encouraging them in the right direction. We have walkie-talkies and code names, and try to stay focused on the thrill of discovery rather than the clock at the end of the hour. If screams of delight and excitement can be heard from the lobby, then we know that we’re doing our jobs!
For me, there’s nothing more exciting than running a kids escape room. I won’t lie—a good portion of it is the fact that I get to be called “Werewitch” or “Rapunzel” now and again. But there’s nothing more rewarding than a stampede of kids running down the hall when they escape with less than a minute to spare, or the cheers and whoops when someone figures out how to open a lock. Kids show no restraint in their joy and their pride, which makes being a game master extra fun.
Escape Game LI is one of the only Long Island escape rooms that adapts their games for children. If you are considering booking for a birthday party, we encourage you visit our Ronkonkoma facility. Our “Legends of the Hidden Temple” game is specifically designed with children and adults in mind, and is located in the same shopping plaza as Paisano’s Pizza and Catering for your convenience. You can check out our special birthday packages here!