Can you believe it’s almost that time of year again? Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and you know what that means – quality time with family, delicious food, and some good old-fashioned fun! But before we can enjoy the break, we’ve got to find something exciting to spice up our lesson plans to keep our students engaged. I’ve got a fun game: try these Thanksgiving escape room ideas. Trust me, it’s a fantastic way to add a dash of adventure and brain-teasing excitement to your classroom.
In this blog post, I’ll share some creative and immersive escape room ideas to make your last days before break unforgettable. So, grab a cup of hot cider, get cozy, and dive into the world of Thanksgiving-themed escape rooms that will have your students discussing this activity for weeks to come!
Pin for Later
What is a Thanksgiving Escape Room?
Before we dive into the details, let me explain how an escape room works in the classroom. Using printable or digital versions, students solve different puzzles while practicing skills in math, language, reading, or any other subject. Instead of the usual Thanksgiving worksheets or crafts, you can gather your kiddos for a fun and challenging escape room game.
Educational Benefits of Escape Rooms
Now, you might be wondering why you should try escape rooms. Well, not only are they loads of fun, but they also offer some great educational benefits. You can sneak in a jigsaw puzzle, which is great for spatial relationships in math. Relate it to social studies topics or help kids develop critical thinking and literacy skills. An escape room could work as independent work or be used in small groups. Escape room games can also be tailored to different age groups and skill levels.
Creating your escape room is a breeze; I’ll show you how in a minute, but if you don’t have time or the desire to make your own. You can find a ton of already-made escape rooms. However, I know you, and you are an innovator. While you enjoy not having to recreate the wheel, you still want to know how it all works. So, I’ll share how I make mine, but know hundreds of thousands of ideas are out there.
First, you will want to decide whether to go digital, printable, or a hybrid of both.
Printable Escape Rooms
Let’s start with printable escape rooms. If you want a more hands-on approach, this is your best bet. You’ll need a few items from your supply list: cardstock, a printer, regular printer paper, and a copy machine. If you want to get fancy, you might have boxes with locks, envelopes, and random objects from the dollar store to use around the room for students to explore.
This version doesn’t require you to be a tech whiz to do this, except you will need a way to create the printable. I use Keynote on my MacBook, but you can use Canva or PowerPoint.
Digital Thanksgiving Escape Rooms
Use these digital Thanksgiving escape room ideas if you’re tech-savvy and want to try something different. The digital version is just as fun and more convenient. I typically make mine using Google Slides, Google Sites, or Genially. It would depend on what type of technology you have available to you at your school.
You can find digital escape rooms on Teachers Pay Teachers and platforms like Etsy if you want to purchase digital escape rooms. Go to the search bar on both platforms and find what would fit your students best. Of course, you can grab Thanksgiving-themed escape rooms that are not digital. Once you’ve found one you like, download and print it out!
How Do You Make an Escape Room Puzzle?
Now, let’s take a closer look at creating these DIY Thanksgiving escape room ideas.
Step 1: Decide on the skill you want the students to review
For my Thanksgiving escape room, students practice reading nonfiction texts and answering comprehension questions. The topic relates to the Mayflower Voyage, Plymouth Rock, and the First Thanksgiving.
Step 2: Design the Escape Room
Next, design your escape room. You can base it on a friendly storyline, like Mr. Turkey’s escape, where players must help Mr. Turkey evade capture just before Thanksgiving dinner. You can make it as complex or as simple as you like, depending on the age of the players. My escape room is Escape on the Mayflower with the following scenario: “It is hard to travel across the oceans to the New World. Can you help the Pilgrims unlock a better life for themselves as they travel across the ocean and explore new territory?”
Step 3: Create the Game
Now, create your game. You can design puzzles, riddles, challenges related to Thanksgiving traditions, or interesting facts. You can use digital pieces such as Google Forms, Morse code, and QR codes. The best part is that you can embed hints; if someone gets stuck, you can provide a hint card to nudge them in the right direction. I like to use four activities. The idea is for students to answer questions that would give them a code at the end of the activity. I like to have them write the code down and then add the codes to a Google Form to see if they are correct once they have completed all activities.
Step 4: Set the Scene and Have Fun
Choose a space in your classroom to set the stage for your escape room. It could be on the carpet or even outside. Make it fun by decorating the room or having the students dress up. Use props to immerse the students in the Thanksgiving theme. Another fun twist includes a scavenger hunt, fun photo booth signs, and a surprise ending with the Thanksgiving theme.
The most important part of the interactive game is to have fun! The whole experience is about classroom bonding and reviewing important skills, all while using critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Other Escape Room Ideas
Send Home a Digital Invitation to Parents
You can send digital invitations to parents to make your Thanksgiving escape room even more fun. Many schools invite parents to dinner with their kids, so why not have an unforgettable Thanksgiving party?
More Thanksgiving Activities
Use combination locks, an embedded form, a paper puzzle, or missing items as a fun way to make things interactive and so much fun.
Create a DIY Escape Room Kit
I know we are always looking for ways for students to continue practicing skills at home on Thanksgiving break, so having students practice an escape game of their own would be great for family bonding.
So, there you have it, an exciting and educational way to celebrate Thanksgiving with your students. Escape rooms are the best way to enjoy the holiday and create unforgettable memories. Whether you choose a digital escape room or send a DIY version home, your student’s day will be filled with laughter, teamwork, and adventure.