With the school year wrapping up, I felt inspired to do an escape-the-room type activity with my speech & language middle school students.  I’m still on a tight budget, so I kept things simple.

Materials for Break-out Speech Therapy Activity

  • 5-letter lock combination, can be found here
  • 3-digit lock combinations (2), can be found here
  • 4-digit lock box, can be found here
  • Padlock with key, can be found here
  • Backpack with zippers, I just used one I already had at home.  Hopefully you have a 4-5 pocket backpack lying around or perhaps a large purse/bag with multiple pockets!  Make sure the pockets have two sliders so you can place each lock around the two zippers.
  • Multiple choice worksheets I made on Google docs on various goals: synonyms, antonyms, context clues, stuttering strategies, category identification, etc.  Add what you like…. I simply give some 2-4 answer choices for each question or task and each answer choice comes with a letter/number.  When they have all the right answers, they will know the letter or number combination to open the lock. I create multiple worksheets; one worksheet per each lock I want them to open!


I set it up that each clues worksheet is inside a backpack pocket, with the exception of the very first worksheet they have to solve.  The first worksheet yields the 5-letter combination for one pocket.  Once they open that lock, they unzip that pocket to find another clue paper! This one yields a 3 digit combination (3 answers=3 digits) for the next lock. Once that lock opens and the pocket is unzipped, there is yet another worksheet for another 3 digit combo.  This 3 digit combination opens the next lock/pocket, where the last worksheet is hidden to solve the 4 digit combination lockbox (I just put the lockbox in a sidepocket since it can’t close around any zippers).  The lockbox will open to reveal a key, which ultimately goes into the padlock on the last backpack pocket.  One that pocket is unzipped, they will have everything they need for the party, since I put all the food, drinks, and cups in various pockets of the backpack.  So their hard work is reinforced with the speech therapy party!


This activity worked well for both my individual and group sessions; however, I enjoyed seeing the teamwork and discussion this activity fostered for groups of 2-4 students.  I often reminded students to take turns reading/answering the questions and to check if their group agreed upon an answer before assuming it was the correct one.  The students loved figuring out the combinations and the little celebration at the end! All in all, a cheap and fun way to wrap up the school year. I say “cheap” knowing that I will probably use this activity for several years with different worksheets and goals, so I think the money is worth the long-term use I will get out of those locks and keys.  Here’s pictures of the final product below:




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