A Mystery Box is a homemade toy that can be used to facilitate fun problem-solving with children at home.
By playing with a Mystery Box, children are given the chance to practice making observations and
piecing these together to come up with a viable conclusion. By using different materials around the
house for the Mystery Box, the home suddenly becomes a very interesting place. This activity is not only
designed to excite children, but also to challenge adults to come up with interesting mysteries for
Click the video above for an instructional video on constructing a Mystery Box by using materials that
are easily found in the home. At the end of the video, a short suggestion on how to use the Mystery Box
- Exploring and comparing objects’ properties (e.g. texture, weight, shape, thickness/thinness,
hardness/softness, temperature, etc.)
Exploring and comparing properties of sound (e.g. loud/soft, high/low)
Problem-solving by collecting observations and coming up with a conclusion
How to make a Mystery Box
- recycled box
- recycled paper bag/paper
- coloring materials
- Using a marker, draw 2 circles on 1 side of the box. Make sure not to draw the circles on the top
or bottom of the box, or where the opening flap is.
- Using the cutter, cut through the 2 circles to make 2 holes. Make sure that hands will fit through the holes easily. Adjust the size of the holes as necessary.
- Put the box aside.
- On 2 sheets of paper bag/paper, cut out a square or rectangle that will be big enough to cover
the holes on the box.
- Using scissors, cut parallel lines along the square/rectangular sheets, but leave the top inch
uncut. These will be used as curtains over the box’s holes.
- From inside the box, tape the paper curtains over each hole. These will help keep the box’s
contents a mystery.
- Design the box using coloring materials. Your child may help with this step.
Using the Mystery Box
- Secretly, put an object inside the Mystery Box.
- Let your child guess what is inside the box by letting him/her explore it with his/her sense of
touch. He/She may also shake the box to observe the kind of sounds it creates. He/She may
even try to smell the object through the holes, as long as he/she does not peep inside.
- Let your child go around the house and explore different objects that he/she may compare to
the observations he/she got from the Mystery Box. This may help him/her figure out what is
inside the box.
- Try putting different objects inside the Mystery Box for daily Mystery Solving challenges.
- On some days,roles may also be reversed: Let your child put an object inside the Mystery Box
and let him/her facilitate how you are to guess what is inside the box.