Tips for Playing Virtual Escape Rooms with Kids

2021.03.11.

If you've ever taken kids to a real bricks and mortar escape room game, then you'll know how perfect the format is for them. Searching, discovering, finding secrets....everything a kid loves to do. It never fails to amaze us as to how much kids love these games and want to come back for more. We tend to think that these types of games are good brain food for growing youngsters. On the whole, it's not going to be as much fun for kids unless they are playing with their age group. Having kids and parents play together is OK, but because the levels of puzzles and riddles are so different, at least one of those groups is going to have a lesser good time than the other. 

Because all kids these days are experts around all portable internet devices, playing a virtual escape room game with them is easy. They find the games just as immersive as if they were playing in the room themselves in real-time. There are some caveats about age. For example, a very young child might be reluctant to share clues. Some kids like to go their own sweet merry way and decide that they are only interested in one particular clue. To that end, we don't suggest playing with the very young. As you're all relying on the game master to do your bidding, then clear communication is the number one priority. Something that little kids might not grasp.

On the whole, if you're going to be playing with kids, then there are some things to watch out for. 

Choose an appropriate theme

 – Its probably best to steer clear of any horror themes. 

Do a room with unlimited hints or a guided experience

– Talk with the game master before you start. Let it be known that he's going to be receiving lots of questions and demands for answers. 

Let them ask for the hint

– We adults might like to hold off asking for hints, partly because we're a bit shy. Kids should not have this problem.

Flashlights are fun

– If the game master has a flashlight, then please make use of it. You'll be able to see more clearly into little nooks and crannies as well. 

Searching is fun

 – If there's a group of kids, then be sure that they will all be pulling the poor game master in every direction. Have them take turns directing and asking the game master. Make sure everyone can hear the answers.

Keys and Locks are fun

 – This is true. Every child wants to be the one who opens a new door. It's best if there's some sort of order imposed on the kids so that various important points are done in some sort of order.

Let them do the Task Puzzles 

– If you're the supervising adult, it sure does get tempting when the little ones are struggling on something very obvious. But they have to learn and it's their game time. We grown-ups have to learn to sit still and let the kids try and do things in their own time.

Give Hints 

– Make sure that they know that asking hints is perfectly OK. If after a certain time, they're still struggling with one thing, then the chances are that it'll be the game master who'll approach them with a hint. This hint will start pretty broad, and as they still struggle, so the hint will gradually become more focused. The game master knows his job and is an expert on giving hints without giving too much away.

Don’t put them down or blame them

 – If they struggle to complete the game within the allotted time, then it's no biggy. Go through the bits they got stuck on with them. Probably the game master will speak with them as there's always a de-brief after the game. The most important aspect is that they had fun. 

Tell them what to do

 – Sometimes, the kids will ask you for help before asking the game master. This is a mixture of shyness and not being seen as failing in any way. If they ask for help, then give them a hand, but only up to the point where they can take over. This is why it's super important that the game being played is at a suitable level for those playing. Otherwise, it'll be boring. And not being able to solve any puzzles will make the game boring and uninteresting.

Kids think differently, so don’t underestimate them 

– When you're putting the teams together make sure that they are evenly matched. If one team flies through the game and uncovers all the clues, whilst the opposing team struggles, then the latter will quickly lose interest, and start to find ways to sabotage the game. As an adult supervising, your job is to keep them motivated.

Before they play virtual online escape room games, you could point them to some of the many websites that specialize in escape room puzzles. This will put their tiny brains in the right spot. There will be many similar puzzles and riddles, so it gives them a welcome head-start. Once they solve some things on their own, then they'll feel more motivated to carry on. Make sure that they remain polite with the game master at all times, no matter how much of a disaster is unfolding of their own making. 

Finally, try and keep the proceedings light and fun. It's not some forced activity that, because daddy paid for it, everyone has to play and have a miserable time. All you want is that everyone enjoys themselves and the games play up to the natural inquisitive nature of children. 
 

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