What is the Best News Ever? No Locks!

Have you ever been to an Escape Room event? I mean one where you are actually locked in a room! I have been twice and, wow! The puzzles are hard. Thank goodness the people with me were very clever. The most recent Escape we attended was so fun and we escaped with only 49 seconds left on the clock.

So, keeping all that in mind, a few years back I started creating Escape Rooms for elementary classrooms! Mine are puzzles and tasks that require students to open a locked box. My students cannot get enough of these events and I cannot invent them quickly enough.

But.... I have had several questions about creating an Escape Room that does not have locks and boxes.

So, here you are!

Are you ready for Escape Rooms with no locks! Just print and go! This post has the details for several Escape Rooms and the STEM Challenges that accompany each one. #teachersareterrific #STEM #escaperoom #elementary


How Do No-Lock Escape Rooms work?

Well, to be honest, I had no idea, but just started with one of my locked boxed resources and thought of ways students could earn something rather than opening a lock. After that, the details just fell into place.

  • There has to be a scenario for the escape.
  • Students collect something along the way.
  • Teams complete 4 tasks.
  • Hints are available if teams get stuck.
  • Teams that escape are awarded a certificate (and in my classroom, they advance to the planning stage of a STEM Challenge).

Escape The North Pole

The Scenario: The team works at the bakery at the North Pole. It is almost Christmas and they want to have a vacation. If the team completes 4 tasks they escape the north pole and go home for the holidays!

This Escape Room includes completing math problems, logic puzzles, reading, and using idioms. Students don’t even realize they are practicing! What is different about the paper/pencil escape room? It is simple! Students complete tasks to earn a method of ‘escaping’. The prep for the events with NO LOCKS is minimal- just making copies. No locks or boxes! AND, best of all, this bundle includes the perfect STEM Challenge to culminate the Escape Room event!


The Tasks:

  • Solve a logic puzzle
  • Match idioms to their meanings within a sentence
  • Follow directions and find locations on a map
  • Convert expanded numbers to standard form
Teams earn a "cookie" for every task solved. Earn four cookies and you escape!

The STEM Challenge: Design a Cookie Package

Escape the Maze


The Scenario: The team has entered a human-size maze (it's pretend). The maze is actually on paper and they trace their path through as they complete the tasks.

In the maze, teams find their path is blocked by a "lock". To open the lock a task must be completed. When the task is completed they receive a math problem. The math problem answer "unlocks" that portion of the maze and they proceed.
Escape Rooms for elementary students are amazing. This one especially is ‘a-MAZE’ing because the topic is mazes. What is different about the paper/pencil escape room is simple! Students complete tasks to earn a method of ‘escaping’. The prep for the events with NO LOCKS is minimal- just making copies. No locks or boxes!

 The Tasks:

  • Letter maze
  • Pattern maze
  • Secret Code
  • Word search that has synonyms for the word AMAZE
Students can advance on their paper maze when they have a correct answer for each task.

The STEM Challenge: Paper Plate Mazes

Escape the Library

The Scenario: Students are trapped in the library. Each team has a library card. They must complete four tasks and get four spots on their library card stamped (or marked) to escape the library.

An Escape Room event in the elementary classroom is a great way to practice so many skills. This one includes determining genre, identifying forms of figurative language, placing names in ABC order, and determining character, plot, or summary. Students don’t even realize they are practicing! What is different about the paper/pencil escape room? It is simple! Students complete tasks to earn a method of ‘escaping’. The prep for the events with NO LOCKS is minimal- just making copies. No locks or boxes!

The Tasks:
  • Identify character, setting, or plot from a description (all descriptions are from the book The One and Only Ivan)
  • Identify the genre from a description (all descriptions are from children's literature)
  • Match figurative language types used in sentences ( all sentences are from Charlotte's Web)
  • Place book titles in ABC order
Students earn a stamp, hole punch, or signature on the team Library card for every task completed.

The STEM Challenge:  Design a Spider Cage (to safely transport spiders)

Escape the Blizzard

The Scenario: The team is hiking through a canyon when it begins to snow. They must complete four tasks to escape the snowstorm.

An Escape Room event in the elementary classroom is a great way to practice so many skills. This one includes math, categorizing topics, and deciphering a secret code. Students don’t even realize they are practicing! What is different about the paper/pencil escape room? It is simple! Students complete tasks to earn a method of ‘escaping’. The prep for the events with NO LOCKS is minimal- just making copies. No locks or boxes!

The Tasks: 
  • Snowman Math (subtract or multiply)
  • Match categories to objects
  • Solve a secret code message
  • Math Target (add or multiply)
Students earn a snowflake for each task that is completed.

The STEM Challenge:  Design a Snowman

 Escape the Principal's Office


The Scenario: The principal calls a team to the office and lets them know there is not a problem. The principal just wants to challenge the team to complete four tasks to Escape the Office!

Escape the Principal's Office - The principal calls a team to the office and lets them know there is not a problem. The principal just wants to challenge the team to complete four tasks to Escape the Office!

The Tasks:

  • Determine the proper use of irregular verbs.
  • Read a comic strip and choose the correct homophones.
  • Complete math problems to answer a riddle.
  • Determine the names of countries on a world map.
The STEM Challenge: Students design a pencil box.

Escape the Candy Factory

The Scenario: Students are on a field trip to a candy factory. Each team is given a team ticket and as they enter the first part of the tour the door is locked behind them (pretend). In order to get out of that room and move into the next part of the tour, the team must complete a task. The answer to the task 'unlocks' the door and the team moves to the second task.

This event is called Escape the Candy Factory. Students will complete 4 tasks. Each task will lead to a number or word clue. When the answer is shown to you, students have unlocked that task and will be awarded a mark on factory tour ticket. After getting through the last task the team has Escaped the Candy Factory.

The Tasks:
  • Students complete magic squares. 
  • Students find the area of rectangles.
  • Students travel through a maze and encounter math problems in the pathways.
  • Students solve simple multiplication problems and find the answers (in words) on a word search puzzle.
Notice these are all math-related tasks!

The STEM Challenge: Students design a container for a specific amount of candy. This is a challenge about volume. (Also a math task!)


Escape the Rainbow

The scenario for students: One of the legends of the rainbow is about its pot of gold. It is said that leprechauns buried pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. Students must complete four tasks to make their way 'through the rainbow' and escape to grab the gold.

Escape the Rainbow- an upper elementary escape room with no locks or boxes. Easy prep, highly engaging.

The Tasks:
  • Math problems and tiny mazes
  • Match sentences to types of figurative language
  • Reading passage with questions
  • Determine which sentences are grammatically correct
The STEM Challenge: Design a pot for gold coins

Escape the Game

The scenario: The team is attending a basketball game and as they leave they find themselves a little lost in the large arena. To find their way out they must complete four tasks.

Designed for the elementary classroom this escape room features basketball topics and NO LOCKS!

The four tasks are:
  • Using a coordinate grid with a basketball court background
  • Reading passage about the invention of basketball
  • Match basketball vocabulary to meanings
  • Logic puzzle about the size shoe worn by basketball players
The STEM Challenge: Build a basketball goal!

Escape and Help the Environment

The scenario: Students are reviewing specific skills that all have information about Earth Day, pollution, recycling, reducing, reusing, and more as part of the task. Their mission is to complete the tasks and learn many different ways that kids can help save the planet.

No Locks Escape Room: Students are reviewing specific skills that all have information about Earth Day, pollution, recycling, reducing, reusing, and more as part of the task. Their mission is to complete the tasks and learn many different ways that kids can help save the planet.

The tasks include:
  • Finding spelling errors in sentences about Earth Day.
  • Use a coordinated grid of a garden.
  • Complete word problems with recycling facts or ideas.
  • Read a passage about Earth Day and answer comprehension questions.
The STEM Challenge: It's the Bottle Flipping Challenge. After the challenge is over- RECYCLE THE BOTTLES!


How fun are these! And here is the best news ever!

Your prep is minimal! All you do is make some copies- of the task sheets and in some cases the objects being collected (snowflakes, library card). That is all!

I decided to offer the Escape Room without the STEM Challenge for teachers that are not ready for that, so these can be purchased two ways- with and without! As always, I have a detailed teacher's guide for you and tips galore! Click on any of the images to see more!

No-Locks Escape Rooms are also available in My Resource Shop. Click here!




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