Mystery Bags invite children to learn by doing. Children learn best when they move and they learn with their whole bodies. Research shows that motor development and cognitive development are “fundamentally intertwined,’ tapping into similar areas of the brain.
When educational toys and activities incorporate movement, your child gains a deeper understanding of the content.
Montessori is described as embodied education because it involves as many senses as possible to fully capture a child’s attention. The haptic sense is the ability to identify objects by manipulating with your hands, without looking. This active exploration helps develop your child’s working memory, concentration, language, and is a great cognitive challenge. The haptic sense is important for the development of gross and fine motor skills, as well as for a child’s general perception of the world.
What are Mystery Bags?
The Monti Kids Mystery Bags in Level 8 are a fun way we develop the haptic sense in the Montessori curriculum.
To continue encouraging the development of your child’s language and haptic sense after they have mastered the Mystery Bag activities included in Level 8, we recommend adding new objects to the bags.
Here are some ideas of other objects you can use. And, of course, you can use any opaque bag as a mystery bag. The options are limitless!
General guidelines when choosing objects:
- Your child must already know the names of each object that you add to the Mystery Bags. It’s best if they are already familiar with and has had experience with these objects at home, school, or grandma’s house.
- Each bag can contain four to six objects.
- Make sure the objects are small (no choking hazards of course!) so there’s enough room in the bag for your child to put both hands inside to explore.
- Use real objects as opposed to toys like replicas of animals. This activity is most beneficial when your child gets an accurate sensorial experience of the real objects in his environment, learning about their temperature, weight, shape, etc. Such rich experiences help your child learn about the world.
- Choose objects with a variety of shapes and textures to make the activity interesting from a sensory perspective.
In Montessori, we try to introduce objects that are all related to each other in the same category. Children find it easier to learn about and remember objects when they are presented as a classified group. Examples include:
- Small dish washing supplies: sponge, drying cloth, scrub brush, mini dish detergent bottle (empty for safety)
- Things found in nature: feather, pinecone, rock, shell
These are general objects that your child is familiar with but they are not related like the classified objects. For example, choose 4-6 objects like these:
These are objects that are a part of a matching pair, there are 3 pairs of two objects. For example, two pinecones, two sponges, two rings, two spoons.
Working with Mystery Bags is an opportunity to talk to your child about the difference between feeling and seeing. You can practice using sentences “I can see…” and “I can feel” to reinforce how we use our senses.