At Home Learning Activities For Kids – Sensory Mystery Box

We asked our PRO Club childcare experts and preschool teachers for some of their favorite at-home activities that provide great learning opportunities for children. Join us every week as we share more fun learning activities that will help shake up your cabin fever.

What will my child learn? Science, literacy, sensory.

Materials:

  • Empty Tissue box, paper bag, any container with a lid. You can also use a large cardboard box with a hole cut into it.
  • Random assortment of objects.
  • For older kids: Paper and pencil.

Preparing your box: If using a large cardboard box, cut at least one hole in the side for your child to reach into the box to feel the objects inside.
Place various objects of different sizes and textures inside the box.

Infants and Toddlers

Infants and toddlers rely heavily on the guidance of others to understand and know the world around them. Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling – their five senses are in overdrive all the time as they take it all in. With today’s activity, you can encourage your child’s sense of wonder by allowing them to explore different objects using their senses. This activity focuses on helping your child relate to and understand the world around them. It also promotes family relationships while working on their language skills.

Getting Started

Place various objects inside an empty tissue box one at a time and then give the box to your child. Engage with them. They may want to shake the box, ask “what do you hear?”

Though they may not be able to verbally tell you that they hear something clinking inside, they will likely express that have heard the sound by using body language or sounds that they noticed an unexpected sound coming from the box. You can describe what they are hearing to them using simple language. “Do you hear that? (then shake the box) There is something inside our box making that sound.”

Perhaps, you put a flower from the garden in the box, model smelling the box for your child. Ask them “Do you want to smell the what is inside the box?” Encourage your child to then reach inside the box. Continue the conversation with your child. “Do you feel the soft petals? How about a stick?” Take the object out and then describe what you see as you point to the different parts of the flower. What is inside of out box? A flower! This flower has pink petals (pointing to the petals) Do you see the pink petals? Continue as you talk about the different parts of the flower. You can revisit the other senses once the object is reveled.

Preschoolers (3-5 years-old)

Preschoolers are full of wonder. Their understanding of the world is strongly influenced by how sensory stimulating the things around them are. Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling – their five senses are in overdrive all the time as they take it all in. With today’s activity, you can encourage your child’s sense of wonder by allowing them to explore different objects using their senses. This activity focuses on helping your child relate to and understand the world around them. It also promotes family relationships while working on their language skills.

Getting Started

Place various objects inside an empty tissue box one at a time and then give the box to your child. Engage with them. They may want to shake the box, ask “what do you hear?” You can describe what they are hearing to them using simple language. “Do you hear that? (then shake the box) There is something inside our box making that sound.”

Perhaps, you put a flower from the garden in the box, model smelling the box for your child. Ask them “Do you want to smell the what is inside the box?” Encourage your child to then reach inside the box. Continue the conversation with your child. “Do you feel the soft petals? How about a stick?” Take the object out and then describe what you see as you point to the different parts of the flower. What is inside of out box? A flower! This flower has pink petals (pointing to the petals) Do you see the pink petals? Continue as you talk about the different parts of the flower. You can revisit the other senses once the object is reveled.

Elementary School Age

Children have curious minds and love to explore the world around them. One way that they do this is through their senses. Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling – their five senses are in overdrive all the time as they take it all in. With today’s activity, you can encourage your child’s sense of wonder by allowing them to explore different objects using their senses.

This activity allows your child to hone in on their scientific skills of making inferences and observations. This activity will help your child understand difference between observation and inference. Observations describe what is seen, while inferences are statement about what you have observed. The mystery box allows your child to see that observations can be made with non-visual senses, such as touching the object or hearing the sound it makes when you shake the box. By writing down their observations and inferences, your child is also gaining good practice of their writing and literacy skills.

Getting Started

Allow your child to feel inside of the box. Ask them to describe the objects that they can feel. Ask your child to write down a description of each object and their guess for what the object may be. Once all of the objects have been observed, reveal them one by one and try to decipher which inference and observation match the actual object.

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