Mystery Boxes

mystery box««« Written by Chuck Hammill via the STAO/APSO Elementary Curriculum Committee. This activity is recommended for use with the Ontario Curriculum, Grade 1: Understanding Structures and Mechanisms

 Mystery Box #1

Make a Mystery Box by pulling a sock over an empty container, such as a coffee can.


  • Coffee can or other similar container
  • Old sock
  • Various small materials and objects, such as pine cones, coins, elastic bands, etc.

 What to Do

  1. Cut the toe off the sock. Students should be able to put their hand into the sock and reach inside the can without seeing inside it.
  2. Put “mystery objects” (pine cones, coins, elastic bands, etc.) inside the can and see if students can guess what the object is using only their sense of touch.

 Mystery Boxes #2

This is a game for children to challenge one another.

 Materials and What to Do

  1. Have two sets of identical materials, Set A and Set B (e.g., toy farm animals, large seeds, school supplies, etc.). Set B (complete) is left by the mystery box at all times.
  1. While one student hides their eyes, their partner selects one object (e.g., a cow) from Set A and puts it into the mystery box. She/he then sets the rest of the Set A materials aside so their partner can’t see which object they took.
  2. The student then opens their eyes and, reaching into the mystery box, tries to identify the object by touch alone. They will, of course, still be able to see all the objects in Set B to help them compare.

ChuckChuck Hammill is a retired teacher from the Peel District School Board. He is actively involved in the STAO Elementary Curriculum Committee.

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