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Montessori Mystery Bag Lesson

The direct aim of the Mystery Bag Lesson is to develop stereognostic sense, and the indirect aim is to line up objects from left to right...which is a pre-reading skill. It is ideal for two to three-year-olds.

The materials you will need are a cloth bag containing about four or five everyday contrasting objects, such as a key, eraser, coin, shell, cube, spool, box, etc., or use contrasting objects your child shows an interest in, and a small mat (optional).


1. Open bag, choose one object, and ask the child, "What is this?"

2. Tell him the correct name, and then ask again, "What is this? Do you want to feel it?"

3. Continue through all of the objects, placing them on mat. "All right, let's put them all back. Let's see if I can tell what they are by feeling inside the bag without looking." Return objects to bag.

4. Continue to bring out one object at a time and identify it until all objects are removed from bag.

5. Ask child, "Would you like to have at turn?"

Extension: classify the objects--use all animals as objects, all transportation, or all feeding objects (cup, spoon, plate, fork).

Other myster bag containers:
You can use other containers for your myster bags (the above pic is a child-size backpack give as a birthday gift): gift bags, wine bags, fanny packs, purses, and decorative boxes.

Metal boxes are nice for "opening and closing," or for small areas that won't fit a backpack.


1. All objects are to be taken out and identified by child (they learn and say the name of object).

2. Items are to be changed from time to time, especially during the holidays or a change in seasons (Easter, Summer, Halloween, Christmas or Hannuka).

You can also use objects from nature: moss, flower bulb, sea shell, geod, large green leaf.

Note: this exercise involves both muscular and language memory.

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You may also be interested in my recommended Montessori and homeschool books for parents and teachers on or my Montessori and homeschool programs for birth to nine-year-olds at Montessori for the Earth.

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