Monday, September 1, 2008

mystery bags

This is a fun sensorial lesson that would be easy to put together at home!

Place six very different feeling objects in a bag. My mom made these beautiful batik bags for me... there's something very magical about putting your hands in a mystery bag. If you don't have bags, you could place the objects in a basket and cover them with a cloth napkin instead.

With your child, take each object out of the bag one at a time and identify what it is. Pictured: rock, pine cone, ring, turtle, star, and key. Put them all back in the bag. Take turns "seeing with your hands." Model this for your child first by sticking your hand/hands inside the bag and carefully feel an object. Before you take it out of the bag, say what you think it is. If you're confident with your young partner's memory, add more objects. This game is fun when played with a small group of children, too.

This is a slightly more challenging version of the first mystery bag. Place six pairs of very different feeling objects in a bag. With your child, match the objects as you take them out of the bag. Pictured: marbles, glass cubes, shells, hooks (not sharp!), nuts, and shells. Put them all back in the bag. This time when you "see with your hands," try to find a matching set without peeking in the bag. Model for your child feeling for a match with both of your hands inside the bag. When you have a match, bring the objects out of the bag to check. "They match!" I've found that children enjoy using this mystery bag independently as-well-as in a small group.
The third mystery bag is the same as the second, except more challenging. The six pairs of objects that you place in this bag should feel only slightly different. For example, these objects are all buttons, but you could use a variety of shells, coins, pom poms, etc.

Just as an F.Y.I., the purpose of the mystery bags is to isolate the sense of touch, and strengthen fine motor skills. The way you model laying out the objects may also reinforce sequence if you lay them out left to right, top to bottom. Also, I'm not sure on this, but using both the left and right hand to find matches must exercise both sides of the child's brain! The control of error would be seeing if the object is what you think it is or if the objects match when you take them out of the bag.

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