Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Mystery Box

I read a post from a fellow kindergarten Tweep (Twitter-friend), asking for some suggestions for end-of-day activities. Here is one that has been a hit with kindergarteners for the past few years. Most of the parents know about this "Mystery Box", but many haven't had the opportunity to see it in action, so I thought it would be a fitting post

I don't quite know what it is, but there is a fascination to the Mystery Box that brings us to a close at the end of each school day.  With approximately 15 minutes left until the dismissal bell, the dragons have two tasks - 1} pack your backpacks, and 2) get ready for the Mystery Box. We all know that if we take too long doing the 1st, there will be little time for the 2nd. Heaven-help-us if it ever has to go that far.

The goal; to place a "mystery" item into the box (a cheap, or donated, collapsible lunch box that I get at the beginning of the year) and have your classmates try to guess what it is from the 3 clues, written and read by the child (in the beginning of the year, parents help out in the writing process).  The only rule (other than that it has to fit in the box) is that the item cannot be alive. It hasn't happened...yet! But it is amazing what some kids can get to fit into the box. "Who knew that a large stuffed animal can be squeezed into such a tight space?"

It's a great exercise in reading, writing, and cognition - and puts a little twist on the typical show-and-share activities. The elements of suspense, and surprise, are nice too!  At the literacy level, the kids learn to think creatively about the clues, write them down, then share them.  At the social-level, it helps us to build confidence as we share in front of the group. The kids know to show respect, have listening-ears, and raise their hands.  Some kids plan out their mystery item weeks in advance - shutting eyes, crossing-fingers & legs at the chance to take the Mystery Box home. We do a random draw from our name-Popsicle sticks, and each kiddo gets it once every twenty days or so. So here you go...our Mystery Box.


  1. Awesome slippers Alayna!! We love how they can sing Jingle Bells!!

    Love, Alex & Bridget

  2. So glad you have the rule about it not being alive! This year I had a little boy tell me he had something to share and it was the end of the day. He ran and got his backpack. His backpack was MOVING!!!
    He had found a HUGE toad at the bus stop in the morning and that toad had been in his backpack in his locker ALL DAY! He opened that backpack and yelled "ewwwww, there is poop all over my backpack!" Thus, I have now learned the valuable lesson of warning not to bring something live to school!

  3. oh my gosh...Seeds of Knowledge - that's hilarious!

  4. ...Alayna, we absolutely love your slippers!! Griffin would like a pair also!! :)