A Mystery Bag (or a Stereognostic Bag) is a classic sensorial activity. In Montessori education, the stereognostic sense is defined as an ability to identify an object by distinguishing its shape, texture, and consistency based on touch alone (by running fingers over the object), without seeing it. Such stimulation is a combination of tactile and muscular memory, which will grow stronger in a young child who practices to recognize objects by touch alone. By playing this "mystery" game, a child is developing muscular and tactile memory, which refines his/her stereognostic sense.
This activity is very simple to put together (just a few simple items, each unique in its shape or texture, together in a small bag). Mystery bag is very versatile (items can be varied every time), and is engaging to a child who, with his/her eyes closed and relying purely on the sense of touch, would attempt to identify an item, name it and retrieve one-by-one. (At the end of the post, I have a link to another post where I wrote in details what, in my opinion, is the order from the least challenging to the most: "Can you Find the Pair?" being the most challenging level).
Today, we are playing with Adrian "Holiday Inspired Can you Find the Pair? Game."
Adrian, 4 years old, not knowing what is inside a bag (a mystery!) would feel an object and try to identify what it is. He would then retrieve it, explore it a little more while still having a blindfold on; then name an object, open the blindfold and see if he was correct or not. (The more familiar the objects are, the easier it will be for a child to identify them.)
Mystery bag can become more and more challenging as the child refines his or her stereognostic sense. The less familiar the objects are, the harder it will be for a child to identify them.
- 2 styrofoam covered stars,
- 2 metal and 2 glitter styrofoam balls,
- 2 pine cones,
- 2 little gifts,
- 2 bells,
- 2 snowmen,
- 2 Christmas Trees.
The contents of the bags can be changed to include familiar objects, e.g. a teaspoon, a cotton reel, a large button, a ring, a marble, a coin, a key, etc.
See here Adrian playing this game at 29 months "Montessori Mystery Bag" where I wrote about the order of introduction and variations on Mystery Bag presentation.
See here Adrian playing this game at a little younger age ( 2 yo) in a post "Can You Find a Pair?"
Mystery bag is such a fun and exciting way to promote language and refine stereognostic sense! And you can vary the contents based on the child's growing interests!
For more on Holiday Inspired activities, see here a roundup of Christmas activities we have during the month of December "🎄Christmas Inspired Unit Study."