Free Barabbas: a family escape room adventure

We all know what it’s like to be in lockdown. But what might it be like to be locked up, to be a prisoner in a lonely jail cell awaiting punishment? Many of us are looking for new ways to entertain the kids and, let’s face it, ourselves. Perhaps your family Bible times have lost their zing. Or perhaps you’ve never opened the Bible with your children before. Whatever your situation, we invite you to experience Free Barabbas, an interactive online adventure that prompts you and your family to ponder the Easter story in a fresh way.

What is an online escape room? In person escape rooms involve a team completing a series of challenges in a set amount of time in an actual room. An online escape room is built around the same concept. Your team (family) works together to complete a variety of tasks from the comfort of your home. That’s not to say you’ll be tethered to your computer screen. The 12 challenges will have you moving, solving, and hopefully laughing, as you journey from a crowd yelling ‘Free Barabbas!’ to a prison cell.

Who is Free Barabbas for? Families, whether churchgoers and not, as well as kids‘/youth groups. It’s not a theology test ??”no prior biblical knowledge is needed! While the target audience is 8 – 12-year-olds, Free Barabbas is designed for families to experience together. A three-year-old could participate in some of the tasks but will need help for others. Tweens and teens may even crack a smile as they fetch a loo roll to ’bandage the hurt dog’.

How do I play?

Download the free PowerPoint. If it’s helpful, you can preview it before you decide to play:

• Single family. Set aside 30 minutes, gather your family, and follow the prompts on the slides.

• Multi family. Arrange a time to Zoom with another family. Read the storyline and complete the tasks together, working as one team. Or read the beginning and ending storyline together, but complete the challenges as opposing teams. Which team can finish the fastest?

Could it be used for kids and youth groups?

Yes, with a few tweaks. On Zoom, have a leader share the screen. Every player accomplishes each task before the leader goes on to the next prompt. (Or break kids into teams and compete for best time.)

• For slide 9 say, ‘You’re the injured one and need to bandage your own leg!’

• For older kids, consider reducing the time from 20 to 15 minutes.

That was fun! Now what?

Free Barabbas can be a springboard to generate discussion. After you’ve celebrated completing all 12 challenges, slow things down. Ponder the ‘ancient text’ you’ll be prompted to unravel after the challenges. Take your time with the discussion questions. Consider reading the actual Bible account of Barabbas from Matthew 27:15-26. And rejoice! Jesus not only swapped places with Barabbas, but he took our punishment and sets us free as well.

Faith in Kids would like to thank the faboulous Rachell Allord for making this project happen.

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