This summer is really flying by! Even though we did this escape room at the beginning of June, I wanted to make sure that I shared it here. We had so much fun with it! I used the same format for this escape room as I did for the Harry Potter one I did a couple of years ago–registration was required, but we played a movie (The Last Jedi on the teen day, Clone Wars and Rebels TV series on the family day) that anyone could come to. In the movie room, I also printed out some Star Wars coloring pages and put out Legos. As it turned out, not many people came to the movie that weren’t going to the escape room, but it was nice to offer it while people were waiting for their escape room appointment. We ran the room on a Saturday from 2:00-5:30 for teens and on Monday from 9-5 for families. While some people didn’t show up for their appointments, we were able to fill most of those slots with people who just happened to be at the library.
I got several of the puzzles from a free game on breakoutedu.com called “Use the Force! (May the 4th be with you)” by Michelle Burke. (I believe you have to sign up for a free account to access even the free games, but it’s well worth it. They also have a premade kit with all the locks and boxes needed, plus access to premium content. I’ve definitely found some great ideas there!) I didn’t use everything, and I modified/changed some things, such as the “digit math” puzzle, but it was AWESOME to have such a great starting point. Side note–I don’t have the breakoutedu kit, but it’s probably a fairly cost effective way to get the supplies you need. I bought things off of Amazon, but one of my combination bags broke near the end of the second day 😥
The scenario was that BB8 had been kidnapped, and we had been able to trace him to an abandoned spaceship on Jakku. The mission was to work the puzzles and codes to find him before he was permanently deactivated. We scheduled teams for 30 minutes each–20 minutes in the room, about 5 minutes to view the video and explain the rules and 5 minutes at the end to reset the room. They each got 3 credits that they could trade for clues.
Decorating this room was a blast! This room has painted cement blocks on the walls, so I was able to hot glue things without harming them. The white panels are just large sheets of fingerpainting paper hot glued to the walls. All of the furniture is from our newly renovated space, which has a mid-century modern feel that worked perfectly for our spaceship. I made the tables into control panels by taping black pieces of construction paper on them and gluing on various sized squares and circles of neon (I bought this kind and all of the colors fluoresced) and white paper. (The tables–I could write a sonnet about how much I love those white tables on wheels. Anyone who has lifted and moved around typical folding tables will appreciate my love for these tables.)
The lights on the flat tables are just pop lights from Walmart–they were about $4 for a pack of 4. I think they really added to the ambiance. All of the Star Wars paraphernalia (light saber, stuffed Chewbacca, BB8, and Yoda) was loaned by a teen advisory board member. We used the screen seen in the pictures to play a short video explaining the mission, which also had a timer on the end. I used this tutorial to make the timer in PowerPoint.
One part of the classroom has a sink and a long line of cabinets. I covered the cabinets with black bulletin board paper and made cardboard boxes look like control panels by wrapping them in the same black bulletin board paper and neon and white shapes. I also added in a few bowls and soft drink cup lids covered with aluminum foil. I think the trick with all of this is dim lighting–I used two blacklights similar to this and it made a world of difference. I also added a lamp and a battery powered lantern from home so that participants could see to solve puzzles.
Escape room programs can be very work intensive but so, so much fun! Not everyone has access to a commercial escape room place, so I think it’s a great thing for libraries to offer for working on critical thinking and teamwork.