There is a lot to like about the Escape Room books sold by Usborne. First of all, the puzzles are appropriate for children, so elementary-aged kids can figure out a lot of these puzzles entirely on their own. Second, it’s a great way to motivate kids to work together, especially siblings. Third, it’s a fun way to build critical thinking skills. My primary complaint is that it takes a long time to punch and fold all the papers to make the puzzles, but if you put on a good movie and get the kids to help, it’s not too bad!
Escape Room: Can You Escape the Museum? Details
Product: Escape Room: Can You Escape the Museum?
Company: Kane Miller Books
Author: Gareth Moore
Illustrator: Beatriz Castro
Copyright Year: 2021
Recommended Age Range: Ther is not an official range, but my kids aged 5-12 all enjoyed it.
Price Range: ~$30
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The best feature of this book is that it is unique. It allows your kids to have a hands-on experience that is completely unlike something they would get from a book or a board game. Its novelty is its biggest selling point, in my opinion. There is also a nice variety of puzzles. With 6 rooms, each containing 4 puzzles, you would think that there might be some repetition, but there really isn’t. We even have the companion book, Can You Escape the Video Game?, and that had completely distinct puzzles from this book as well.
The primary reason why I am glad I purchased this book is that it made my kids feel like a team. When you have kids of wide-ranging ages (mine are 5 to 12), it can sometimes be hard to find activities that will appeal to all of them. I want them to have memories when they grow up of fun things they did together. This at-home escape room is one of those memorable experiences. I like that the younger kids had to ask the older kids for help. I appreciate that the older kids were relatively kind and helpful in giving tips to the younger kids.
My biggest complaint with this book/game is that it comes with several sheets that need to be punched out and folded to make all the components necessary for the game. Some of the paper is thin and rips easily, so I couldn’t let the kids help me with those. The pieces have paper tabs, which theoretically should stay together without tape. However, we found that in handling them, several of them fell apart, so we needed to add a little tape temporarily. Some of the pieces are incredibly small (like fingernail size), so they can get misplaced easily.
The other downside of any escape room is that the same people can’t really do it more than once. However, you can pass it on to someone else. A nice feature of this is one is that even though the paper all folds into different three-dimensional shapes, in the end, it all unfolds and can be stored nicely in the envelope attached to the book.
All in all, if you have kids in middle school or older or if you don’t mind being heavily involved in the puzzle-solving, I recommend a boxed kit more like Escape the Room: Stargazer’s Manor instead. However, if you have elementary-aged kids and you would like them to be able to work independently or with each other, then this Kane Miller book might be the perfect fit.