What’s In The Box?

Stuffed toy Sheep in Box

Early learning (and school readiness) isn’t about knowing just the ABC’s and 1,2,3’s.

It’s not only about what a child learns, but also about how they think, interact with their environment, how they see themselves and their community, and much more.

What does playing “What’s In The Box” accomplish?

  • Analytic and comprehension skills: children learn to ask questions that lead to discovery.
  • Listening skills: children have to hear and interpret responses to lead to their guess.
  • Communication skills: children formulate questions and practice answering too.


  • Take a box; shoebox size works great.
  • Decorate the outside of the box with question marks.
  • Put a “mystery object” inside the box.
  • Close the lid.

How to play:

  • Every child in your family (or try it at a birthday party!) can ask one question about what is inside the box.
  • When everyone has had a turn, everyone can take a guess what is inside the box.  If they can’t guess, give hints.
  • If someone guesses, they can open up the box and show the group. Maybe they get to be the next person to choose something. Remember, it’s not about winning and losing-it’s about having fun with your child while teaching skills.
  • Ideas for what you could put in the box:
    • Diaper pin
    • Teddy bear
    • Piece of fruit
    • Cup
    • Book
    • Crayon
    • Spoon

© Parent Trust for Washington Children