Target Age class: Ages 3-5
Type of play: Problem Solving and Communication
Every child loves a mystery. You can teach your child all about adjectives and attributes used to describe objects to help them solve a mystery by playing this guessing game that involves some of their favourite toys, basic household items, and a soft and simple pillow case from your linen closet.
First, gather five of your child’s favourite toys and spread them out in front of them on the floor or on a table.
Even though your child has touched each of the toys a number of times, encourage them to run their hands all over each of them, one at a time.
Discuss some attributes of the toy. Is it hard or soft? Does it have corners? If so, are they rounded or pointed? Is the toy smooth or bumpy?
Model your thinking process by talking out loud and teaching your child how to ask and answer internal questions by giving external examples.
Be sure to use the words attributes and adjectives frequently in your monologue.
After discussing each toy, blind fold your child (no peeking!). Place one of their toys inside a pillowcase. Remove the blindfold from your child’s face and encourage them to feel the object inside of the pillowcase as you hold it up.
Encourage your child to move around all sides of the pillowcase and remind them of some of the adjectives that were used to describe each toy.
Ask your child if the object inside the pillowcase feels pointy, soft, hard, bumpy, smooth, or round.
Give your child three guesses to determine the identity of the mysterious object inside the pillowcase.
Remove the object from the bag as soon as they guess correctly, or provide them with prompts if they cannot make an appropriate guess.
Repeat this process until all of the toys that were discussed have had a turn being disguised inside the pillowcase.
Next, move on to some basic household items that you can place inside the pillowcase. You can even experiment with temperature.
Consider placing some ice cubes in the pillowcase or some jarred objects from your refrigerator. This will challenge your child and build on not only their prior knowledge about the way objects are shaped and designed, but also help them access a basic understanding and general recall of the objects available around the home.
Finally, once your child becomes a master at this mystery bag guessing game, allow them to choose some products to place in the bag while you are blind folded.
Reverse the roles!
Again, model your thinking process out loud as you begin to make reasoned and informed guesses. You can even have your child describe the mystery object to you, without being allowed to feel it through the pillowcase.
These mystery activities will not only teach your child to use age appropriate vocabulary to describe objects, it will help improve their categorization and classification skills, improve their senses, and help establish critical thinking skills while building on their prior knowledge.
It does not involve much time and utilizes basic resources that you already have around your home. Plus, the most invaluable part of this activity is that your child will learn and grow from spending some quality time with you!