I love any and all Christmas related activities. I also love escape lessons in the classroom, so I decided to combine two of my favorite things to create a Christmas Escape activity that is perfect for upper elementary students. Like my End of the Year and Back to School escape lessons, this is not a grade level or standard specific breakout project. Instead, this focused on critical thinking and reasoning, and a whole lotta fun! If you need ideas on how to implement an escape room activity, be sure to check out this blog post.
Christmas Escape Activity-Set the Stage
In this Christmas Escape, students have to escape from Santa’s naughty list. There’s been a terrible mix up at the North Pole, and the class has accidentally been placed on the naughty list! This was a mistake and everyone is supposed to be on the nice list, so students must alert Santa of this mix-up! However, for students to get the message to Santa and escape the naughty list, they must solve a series of four Christmas puzzles.
To prove that students belong on the nice list, they’ll need to sing a few Christmas carols. Students must decipher the picture clues to determine which 12 carols to sing. They will write the title of the song that each card represents on the recording sheet. I’ve tested these out with several students. Some aren’t too difficult, but some were fairly challenging. Fortunately, with students working together they won’t have too much trouble identifying all of the carols.
In clue 2, students learn that Santa accidentally jumbled up his Christmas list. They must help him by finding the hidden words on the list. The letters that are NOT used will give students the next code to discover the following clue.
For clue 3, students must help Santa find what number goes at the top of his tree. To find the missing number, students should add side-by-side numbers and write the sum of those numbers on the hexagon above that number. The number at the top is the code for the next lock. The higher students work their way up the tree, the larger the numbers will become, so there is a bit of math involved.
In the fourth portion of the escape, students help Santa organize his supplies. To do this, students need to match the Christmas items on the Christmas puzzle. To complete the 3-by-3 puzzle, students should reconstruct the squares so that all of the images match on every interior side. Once students complete the puzzle, use the top three images and the decoder wheel to crack the code!
Christmas Escape Room
I have included multiple versions of this activity to meet your classroom needs. One version is for a physical setup of the activity, and the second version is for a hybrid digital version of the activity that does not require boxes or locks. In both versions, break students into small groups of approximately four per group. If you use the digital version, you don’t need any special locks or boxes, which does simplify it a bit. I’ve written a blog post that severs as a how-to guide on implementing digital and physical escape lessons, and you can see that here. I also made You Escaped cards, and I will probably add a candy cane or something seasonal to our smallest boxes. I feel very confident that everyone will make it to the nice list on this Christmas Escape!