Challenge your kids to “break-in” to this surprise bag by solving problems you design for them.

Lately, our group of friends have enjoyed going to “Escape Rooms”.  Basically, you pay to get locked in a room with your friends and try to “break out” by searching for clues and solving puzzles.  Since we enjoyed it so much, I wondered if these concepts could be used as a game to challenge kids and provide some good ol’ edutainment. So, with a birthday party approaching, I picked up some equipment from Wal-Mart and the hardware store to make a case they’d have to BREAK-INTO to test the theory. I knew the kids would vary in age (Ava 6, Sadie 7, Evan 6, Jovan 4, Cole 6) so I was hoping for something where they would need to co-operate on and where each kid could contribute.

I found a 4-letter word pad-lock which would lock the outer bag and put together the following clues. I hid the clues in the various pockets of the bag of course. (BTW, the kids figured out how to open the bag without unlocking the pad-lock due to the play from the zippers – but they were good sports and continued on the puzzle)

Photo of birthday puzzle bag as kids will find it

Locked bag – clues are in side pockets and safe with more clues inside

Photo of clues to open outer lock

Clues to open outer lock

I figured the younger ones would have this topic fresher in their minds and that actually played out.

Inside, I went with something more elaborate.  Several math-type puzzles had to be solved to decode the words on the Code-Sheet.  Once that was solved, if the kids still couldn’t get it, there was also a lego-puzzle to solve which provided another clue.

Photo of clues for the kids to unlock the safe

Math and logic problems to unlock the safe

Photo of lego puzzle

Final clue – the kids have to complete the lego wall keeping the patterns consistent

With the final clue, the kids had to work together one last time to get the 3-digit safe code and unlock the “nut-free” candy.  It was actually quite satisfying to see the light-bulbs going off in the kids’ heads when they figured it out.

I had to walk them through process step-by-step so they wouldn’t get frustrated but I actually got full attention for about 10-15 minutes from 3 kids working on it.  Of course, I was asked for puzzles for the next party.  Whoahaha, my master plan is working, the kids are “begging” for math and science problems :).

Did you solve it?  All the clues are in this post.  You might not know mandarin as well as grade-schooler in Toronto so here’s your only cheat-sheet:

Photo of Chinese Numbers

Chinese Numbers one to ten

Good luck!


My mission through Daddy Engineer is to encourage people of all ages to enjoy engineering play.  Between work, kids and actually doing some of these projects, there’s little time left for blogging but I hope you enjoy my efforts.  Let me know what you think, your feedback and encouragement is much appreciated.

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