Touch & Guess Box
A sensory treasure chest like the Touch & Guess Box is, in my opinion, a 'must-have' for any home or classroom! It simply facilitates so many different discoveries - it is such an open-ended, flexible and engaging tool. Children enjoy the tactile explorations while also developing their vocabularies through their descriptions of their discoveries!
The Touch & Guess Box is from the brand Masterkidz, which is renowned around the world for its innovative approach to inspiring investigation and imagination!
It is an investment piece that will inspire endless hours of fun and can be used by children of a broad range of different ages! The only limit is your imagination!
Here are just a few examples of how it can be used...
- Nature explorations - place sensory materials inside the box that inspire a child to engage with nature, such as a collection of autumn leaves to crunch, or a series of smooth stones to stroke, or a few feathers to feel.
- Sensory comparisons - choose objects that offer strong contrasts in physical characteristics - such as a series of soft items (eg. feather, piece of silk, cotton wool, soft toy) placed in along with hard items (eg. rock, small wood rounds).
- Sensory matching - fill the box with pairs of sensory objects so that children can use their sense of touch to match the pairs. These could be natural objects - such as placing two of the same shells inside, two smooth river stones, two freshly picked flowers and so on - or common household objects, such as two brushes, two pencils, two socks and so. As an extension the task can become more abstract - instead of pairing specific objects the child can match partners according to characteristics, such as the texture of materials in a Fabric Matching game (illustrated later in this description),
- Size explorations - place sets of objects inside the box that represent different sizes - such as a tea spoon and a dessert spoon that the child must identify as the 'small' and 'large' versions of the same object.
- Stereognostic sorting - children are encouraged to using their sense of touch to sort objects by including multiples of a few different items in the box - such as 5 gumnuts, 5 pom poms and 5 small balls. The child is given three bowls or containers - one for each type of object - before reaching in, announcing what they feel they have found, then pulling it out to check if their hands were right! They place the object in a basket then reach in again for more!
- Shape recognition - incorporate shapes into the exploration by encouraging children to reach into the box to find 3D solids. At an introductory level a child could simply feel around to explore the dimensions of these shapes, or for a more advanced experience the child could be asked to find a specific shape on each turn (as illustrated below).
The sturdy wooden box has two holes to allow children to use both hands to guess the object inside by touch alone. As children explore they increase tactile awareness, memory, vocabulary and communication skills.
The structure of the box is perfect for inspiring interaction between a child and adult, or between two or more children. This is because the box is accessible from both the front and the back. Some other similar sensory boxes have a totally enclosed back, which means that one child can place their hands in from the front but nobody else can engage with it at that point. The Masterkidz Touch & Guess Box overcomes that problem by exposing the back. This allows a teacher, or another child, to sit at the back and observe what the hands are doing inside the box! This can be useful in many ways - from a teacher using these observations to gain deeper insight into the child's strategies and motor coordination, or a peer turning it into a game by giving clues when their friend is getting closer to the right object!
The Touch & Guess Box measures approximately 22cm height x 28cm width x 33cm length.
The manufacturer recommends this resource for ages 3+
Please note that the Box comes flat-packed and some assembly is required. It is quite a straightforward process to put it together - there are only 5 pieces of wood to connect, 8 screws to tighten and 2 wooden dowels to insert. The packaging specifically suggests that 'adult assembly' is required, but I personally had a little helper when I constructed mine...