Young children love to learn about the five senses and the sense of touch is a favorite. I can remember using a mystery box when I was in preschool. It was one of the my favorite activities! So I reached into my box of
trash treasure to find the materials to create a new tactile mystery box for my own kids.
Tactile Mystery Box
What is a tactile mystery box? It is simply a bag or box that hides the contents from a child’s eyes. Kids will reach into the mystery box and feel the object(s) inside. The purpose of this activity is for children to rely on their sense of touch to identify an object.
Children are unable to see the object, so they must use their fingers to explore the contours of the object. It is a great time to identify descriptive words.
Identify Descriptive Words
Before kids begin to reach into the mystery box, help them build their vocabulary. Brainstorm words that can describe how something feels.
Touch & Describe
Start by introducing an object. It can be any type of object; however you may want to select different objects that will elicit a variety of different tactile feelings. Smooth, rough, soft, hard, slick, round, bumpy, prickly, and slimy are just a few of the possible adjectives that you want children to identify.
Children will begin to build a bridge of knowledge, by associating the physical feeling of the object with the descriptive words.
Classifying Through Sense of Touch
The first time the kids use the Grab & Guess mystery box, introduce 3-4 different objects and allow students to see and feel the objects. Then, hide all of the objects out of sight and place one of the hidden objects in the mystery box. Students can take turns putting their hands inside the mystery box and using descriptive language to identify what they feel.
Emphasize that all children should have a turn feeling the object, before the children guess which object is actually inside the mystery box. You can also switch objects for each turn, so that each child gets a different object to grab & guess!
Children can play “Grab & Guess” with a partner. It is a great way to build relationships and have children focused on teamwork. One partner will visually identify an object and secretly place it in the mystery box. The other child will put their hand through the mystery box and use their sense of touch to describe and identify the object.
Another way to use the Grab & Go mystery box is through free play. Students can put their own objects into the box. Even though the child knows what the object is, when they place the object inside the mystery box they are focusing primarily on their sense of touch. Without visual cues, they must rely on their sense of touch.
DIY Mystery Box
You can simply use a bag or box as a mystery box, OR you can create a container that kids will just need to reach inside. It is easy as dressing up the bag or box. By adding a few colors and pictures, it becomes something spectacular!
This particular version of a mystery box is made out of a Pringles can and a sock! It was so easy to make and kids LOVE reaching their hands inside of the sock. Here are DIY directions to make your own Grab & Guess box.
- Pringles can
- Long sock (I used my son’s old soccer socks)
- Hot glue gun/glue
- Paper to create signs on the sides
- Cut the end off of the sock.
- Pull sock over top of Pringles can.
- Hot glue the sock to the back of the Pringles can. This prevents kids from ripping it off the can.
- Draw a picture or words for the side of your can. Attach the signs to the sides of the sock.
- That’s it!
Want more ideas for hands-on learning? Check out these posts with lots of hands-on learning ideas!