September 03, 2020

Lina Awshee

Practice Stereognosis with Mystery Boxes

Topics: Learning Through Play

Practice Stereognosis with Mystery Boxes

Stereognosis is a term used to describe a person’s ability to identify and recognize an object just by touch/feel, in the absence of visual identification. A simple example would be sticking your hand into a purse and pulling out the car keys after feeling around for them.

Why is stereognosis important?

Our children are growing, learning, and playing in a sensory rich world. All day long, their senses are being stimulated: Sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and touch. Stereognosis involves this last sense, the sense of touch. When we touch an object, the skin receptors send signals to the brain which interprets the information and determines what we should do with it. Although it may seem like second nature to us, this is not necessarily the case for all children and some may need more practice to increase their skills.

So how does this translate to their academics?

Stereognosis involves a lot of visual perceptual skills in that as you are touching the object, recreating the feeling into a picture in your mind. As you follow along the edges of a square block you start to picture it in your mind until you come to the conclusion that it is indeed, a block/square. These types of skills are important in many aspects of their daily routine as they manage their supplies, manipulatives, etc. In addition, the visual perceptual skills are important in conceptualizing many academic skills such as math, science, and motor-planning tasks.

My experience has been that turning stereognosis skills into fun “mystery” games yields great buy-in from the kiddos that I work with, and also fosters a no-fail learning environment! One of my favorite ways to practice this skill is the “what’s inside?” mystery box.

What you will need:

  • Small box (those amazon boxes you have laying around will work perfectly!)
  • Scissors/box cutter
  • Small toys


Cut a hole on each side of the box so that you are able to stick your hands in to feel the contents, but not see it.


Have the kiddos pick a couple toys, hide one toy inside the box while they are looking away. The kiddos will then reach in and feel the object, trying to guess what it is only by touch!

Practice Stereognosis with Mystery Boxes

Initially, you may have to pick toys that you have two of, so that one can sit out in front of them and the other will be inside the box. Having a model to visualize the shape inside will help reduce the difficulty of the challenge. Slowly, you can phase out the model, then eventually – put an object in there without them having ever known what the options were, and they come up with the answer themselves.

Get creative and have fun!

I received a game in exchange for this blog post but the opinions are my own.

Author's Bio

lina4Lina Awshee is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with a background as a Pediatric Vision Therapist. Currently, Lina is practicing in the school systems where she works with students of all ages. When she isn’t working, Lina enjoys sharing purposeful ways to include skill development into daily playtime. You can find fun suggestions by following her on Instagram

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