Teachers have a hard time throwing anything away. Recently a teacher at the preschool I teach at had 13 satin draw string bags and asked if I wanted them. Hmmm...soft, easy to open, and easy to close. The first thing I did was open one. I looked inside, even though it didn't feel like anything was in there. The urge to open the silky bag was overwhelming! I just had to look. Nope, nothing in there. I checked all 13. Darn, no treasure. Having twelve students, the idea of each child being able to hold their very own 'mystery bag' popped into my head. I took them home, washed them, and like magic, a 5 dollar bill came tumbling out of the dryer along with a few of my teens' shirts, shorts, and 13 mystery bags! Woo-hoo! I get paid for doing my kids' laundry:)
When I passed the closed bags to the students, little eyes zeroed in and fingers wrapped around the softness. I told them that these were 'mystery bags' that had treasure inside and that our job was to figure out what the treasure was without opening it.
Most three year old kids don't know how to open a drawstring bag. I could see the temptation, excitement, and wonder. I asked them what they thought was inside. "Grapes, balls, candy, rocks!" Hmmm...exactly the answers I was looking for. What is the fun if they get the answer on the first try?
We talked about how the objects inside were round like circles (our theme of the week), soft, not hard (so they are probably not rocks), more than one inside, they didn't squish... Many guesses and tons of fun learning went on for about 10 minutes. I collected the mystery bags and saved them to be opened later. When I passed them out at the end of the day, more kids were guessing pom poms and we opened them. Smiles all around!
Hmmm. The kids new right away what the pompoms were...but the marble brought on a whole bunch of new guesses.
I handed each child a magnet wand and we magnetically picked up our mystery bags with our 'magic' wands! SO VERY COOL!
When we opened them, the first thing I collected was the steel marble---didn't want any of my three year olds to pop it in their mouths. (Always make safety a priority!)
Some kids realized the object in their bag felt different from other kids' bags. Some bags had 'round objects'. Other bags had objects with 'pointy sides'. We tried the 'magic' wands and they didn't work despite trying very hard! After we opened the mystery bags, we took turns putting our pieces back into the puzzle while talking about what color and shape (circle, square, triangle, rectangle) was in each mystery bag.
We will be ending our circle/round theme and jumping into a fall/autumn theme with a leaf in the bags on one day and acorns in the bags on another.
The Mystery Bags have been a huge success. The possibilities of what can go into the mystery bags are endless.
What do you think I should put in the mystery bags this year?
I have a few ideas, but would LOVE to hear from you! Tell me your suggestions, and I will give a $5 Amazon Card to one lucky commenter. I will have the names of all commenters in a mystery bag and have a child pull out the lucky winner.
My favorite Mystery book for preschoolers is The Missing Mitten Mystery.
Click on the links below to see it and Silk Drawstring Pouches, Magnetic Wands, and Pom-Poms,
| || || || |