Children love surprises! The anticipation of “The Mystery Bag” offers children a thrilling learning experience. Montessori Tides consider this a versatile and essential material through the toddler and lower elementary levels. It stimulates and cultivates the student’s intellectual curiosity and has endless options for use in the classroom. Perhaps you will find this work to be a thrilling addition to your Montessori-inspired home, too!
The Mystery Bag
The mystery bag can be used to develop more language, the tactical of stereo-gnostic (three dimensional) senses, and to reinforce object permanence.
At first, place only a few familiar objects into the bag, such as a large rock, a piece of bark, and a leaf or fresh picked flower. Though related, the objects are different in size, texture, etc. Please note you are not limited to pick objects that are related. A Montessori Tides teacher may place objects related to current studies in the bag. For example, the objects listed above (rock, bark, and leaf) could be used while the students study the wilderness in science curriculum.
This is the guideline for the game we use in the toddler class:
- Sit down with your child. “This is the mystery bag.”
- Open the bag a remove one object at a time, name it and set it down forming a vertical line. “Let’s put them back now, would you give me the ….?” Or “Which object is smooth?”
- Continue until all items have been replaced again
- Close the bag slightly, insert your hand and visibly ponder about the identity of the object you grasp. Try to give your child an idea of guessing. “I think maybe I have a ….” Or “This object is rough.”
- Remove your hand from the bag with object in it. Hold the object up for the child to see first and let him verify your guess. Then agree with him. “Now would you like a turn to guess? What are you going to take out of the mystery bag?
There are many different variations to this work. This is one of the great things about Montessori — the children get to practice the same skill over and over, but in a variety of interesting ways. An older child, who is more advanced, could try, exploring the bag blind folded, record what is found on lined paper, or draw word cards from the bag, then match the card to the object.
Once you begin to explore the Mystery Bag, you will find infinite possibilities for ways to use it in your home!