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Sensory mystery box

What you need

  • A cardboard box, or collection of cardboard boxes that you can cut holes into.
  • A range of sensory materials that will go inside for your child to feel e.g. cotton wool, slime or playdough, leaves collected from outside etc.


Sensory exploration: language and physical skills will all be developed through this experience. For babies not yet walking, they will be encouraged to crawl over/reach to join in. For early walkers, they will be encouraged to walk to and stand at a low table to explore this exciting activity.

The experience

Make a hole in the box or boxes, big enough to fit your child’s forearm. Fill each box (or prepare different items to re-fill one box each time) with materials of different textures. Encourage your child to reach in the box, feel and pull it out to see it closely. Children closer to 2 years old may be able to verbally share their guess as to what the material is. Younger children will enjoy feeling and then looking at the different items, exploring using all the senses. 

The reaching, feeling and exploring the materials with their hands and fingers are a great way to develop fine motor skills. You can change up where the box is placed – it could be on the floor for exploring during tummy time, or crouching down for the older children, or placed at a low table for standing and exploring. You could even set up several different stations to explore for active children on the move.