Friday, January 26, 2018

make a mystery bag

The preschool I work at is a play and literature based school. Each week we focus on one book and build our other centers around it. My kiddos are young threes who will sometimes sit for a story or two or three and sometimes will...not. To strengthen the foundation of the story I am reading and to give them an opportunity for language I pull out the mystery bag.

Any drawstring bag will do, you can use this diy here and use a larger fabric piece to make your bag bigger. I can work on a more specific bag diy sometime in October, right now I will just share the fun of the mystery bag.

Before I turned my fabric square into a bag, I appliqued a large question mark on each side of the bag. When I bring out the bag the children often ask what the question mark is. I will say this is a symbol we call a question mark. A question mark shows us that someone has a qeustion to ask. When the children ask me questions, I repeat that they are asking me a question and I refer back to the question mark on our mystery bag.

The contents of the mystery bag change each week. I fill the bag with small items and goodies that go along with our story. Small animal figurines, alphabet flashcards, buttons, animal cards, colored pom-poms, etc.

On the first day of the mystery bag, I will pull items out and see if the children can name them and/or just listen to what they want to tell me about each item. I will dialogue with them to show that the item is the same as what is in our story. The first week we did The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and inside our bag was a stuffed raccoon, a few raccoon figurines, the letter R flashcard, small wooden acorns and painted hearts. After a few rounds with the mystery bag, the children will connect the dots between the items in the bag and and how they relate to the story.

After I go through the bag, we put everything back in and then the children take turns removing items. They will exclaim over their items and proceed to sort them in a variety of ways. Often times the children will choose to go through the bag on their own and tell me what the items are.

The mystery bag is a great tool for engaging your children in language and literature. You can also use it to teach math (sorting), art (color recognition), and science (animal facts). The best part is the bag can easily change contents to keep it new and fresh while also maintaining a familiarity.

This week we are reading Ten Red Apples. Can you guess what is in the bag?