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March 6, 2012

The Magical Mystery Box

Don't you just love pulling something out from deep in the closet and finding you suddenly can use it a million different ways?  That's what happened with me this week with the Mystery Box from Lakeshore.   Here's some of the ways I used it:

1.  To elicit contractable auxiliaries:  I placed 5-10 different objects in the box and held the matching picture cards in my hand.  I showed the child the first card and asked him to reach inside and find it by only using his fingers.  After he retrieved the object and set it on the picture, he needed to ask, "What's next?".  I showed him another card, and we repeated the sequence.  This particular child enjoyed this activity so much that we went through all 30 objects, giving me at least 30 opportunities to elicit the target.

2.  To practice using pronouns he and she:  This time I placed a boy doll and a girl doll on either side of the box.  I explained that they each wanted some of the items hidden in the box.  I laid out 5 cards by each doll and modeled, "He wants a basketball.  He wants a key", emphasizing the pronouns.  The child then removed one item at a time from the box, matched it to a picture and said, "He/She wants a ___"

3.  To practice using adjectives:  I placed one item in the box at a time.  The child reached in the box and described what he or she could feel:  long, round, fuzzy, bumpy, squishy, hard, soft, pointy, smooth, rough, etc.  The child then made a guess about what the item was and matched it to a picture.  To make it even more difficult, I had several of my kids make a guess without the pictures displayed.  You could also do this by first having the child guess what the item is and then have them tell you why they think that (ex. "I think it's a snake because it's long and wavy and has a head").

4.  /r/ Sentences/ Carryover:  Instead of using the picture cards, I wrote words that begin with /r/ on little post-it note-sized cards and had the student match the item to a word on a card.  I chose adjectives, nouns and verbs that might describe an object from the set.  Some of the words I used were rough, rotten, wriggly, rusty, red, round, road, rim, and replace.  After matching an object to a word, the student then made up a sentence that included both words.  We made it more difficult by combining two or more sets into a longer sentence (ex.  "The rusty key and the rotten egg were in the road."  A copy of my word cards can be downloaded here.

There are so many more ways to use this set of materials!  I would love to hear YOUR ideas!

Nice chatting with you,



  1. I love the Mystery Box from Lakeshore, one of my favorite therapy materials that I use with my PK students. Thank you for sharing all of these wonderful ideas.

    1. Thanks Jourdan! I'd love to hear YOUR ideas too!

  2. The link no longer works for the cards. :(

    1. Do you have a Google account? If so, try logging in and then downloading. Frustrating, huh? If that doesn't work, send me your email address and I'll try to find my original file and send it to you.


  3. Thank you for the free downloads I'm going to use them in my kindergarten classroom and add to them to make them a little more challenging for my kiddos.