5 Outstanding Ways to Use a Mystery Box to Improve Language Skills

First of all, you may be wondering; What is a mystery box?   A mystery box is any box that has a small opening in which a hand can fit inside. Inside the box contains mystery objects, such as small toys or objects. You can easily create your own mystery box using a tissue box.  Place inside the box about mystery objects at a time.  Then, have your child reach in the box and guess what they are touching prior to pulling it out of the box.  Here are 5 speech and language skills you can target when using the mystery box with your child.
5 outstanding ways to use a mystery box to improve speech and language skills
Completed mystery box made from a tissue box.

1. Increasing Sentence Length

Decorate the mystery box together.  Place white paper over the sides of the box. Have your child request for crayons or stickers to decorate the box.  Model longer utterances for your child (i.e. “I want the blue” or “I want the star”).  After you’re done decorating the box, then you can start to use it. When your child pulls an object out the box, encourage him/her to label the object. Model longer utterances for your child to repeat if necessary, such as “I found a train”.

2. Answering questions

After your child pulls an object out of the box and labels it, ask him/her a question about the object.  Depending on your child’s ability you can make the questions more difficult.  Ex. “What color is the crayon?” or “Where does the cow live?”.  If your child is having difficulty answering the questions, provide him/her with options.

3. Vocabulary

You can fill the box with any theme of objects you’d like.  If your child is having difficulty with shapes, place different shapes objects in the box.  If you want to work on labeling household objects with your child, try filling the box with these types of items.  You can use a theme for the objects or randomly place objects in the box.

4. Turn-taking

Take turns with your child to pull items out of the box.  Remind your child to request for his/her turn by saying “My turn”.  See if your child can remind you of your turn as well “It’s your turn”.

5. Speech Sounds (Articulation)

If your child is working on a specific sound in speech therapy, you can fill the box with objects that have the sound.  For example, if your child is working on the /k/ sound, fill the box with a cat, cup, car, kangaroo, and key.  If you’re having difficulty finding these objects in your house, print out pictures, fold them in half, and then place them in the box.  Remind your child to use their good “k” sound when telling you about what they found.
You can also purchase a mystery box with objects online. Click on the image for more information and to purchase.

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