Kids LOVE mysteries – hey I LOVE mysteries too! When my husband and I first spotted this Mystery Hat from Learning Resources it immediately caught our eye! How awesome it would be to have this instead of a makeshift treasure box out of cardboard that the kids constantly wreck! It retails for $17.99 so we didn’t buy it because we didn’t have the extra money to “splurge”. Plus we weren’t sure how it would hold up in the classroom so we couldn’t justify the expense. So when Learning Resources offered us a review on it we were thrilled!
When we received it we were impressed immediately! It is made of a very thick and sturdy plastic, and the top “flaps” are equally durable. They seem to be made out of a flexible soft plastic/rubber. We didn’t have to worry about the flaps getting ripped out – they were snugly in place! Although all of my pictures are of us using it at home this Mystery Hat has spent 90% of it’s time in my husband’s classroom and it uses it almost daily. His kids LOVE it…..although my kids keep begging for it to come back home!
At first all I could think of to do with it was the game “touch and feel”. We used the veggies and fruits from Learning Resources Farmer’s Market Color Sorting set to hide in the hat. My kids had to feel each item and guess what it was. Not only did that help to strengthen their nutritional observations and learn the types of fruits/veggies available but it also encouraged their reasoning and deduction skills as well as incorporate sensory by feeling the objects. My kids wanted to play this game ALL day.
We then wrote words on small pieces of paper and placed them into the hat. My oldest son who can read then would pick a piece of paper out of the Mystery Hat and have to read the word! Sometimes it was silly words, sometimes they were easy words, and sometimes they were very hard words! This is certainly a fun way to help a child on their reading skills – especially if they do not like reading.
My husband’s favorite way to use it at school is in math. Yep – you can even use it for math! He fills the Mystery Hat up with play coins and money. Then each child has the opportunity to come up to the front of the classroom and grab a handful of money out of the Mystery Hat. Of course each child wants to grab as much as they can – but when they pull the money out they have to count the money and add it all up! This is a great hands-on way to get kids involved in classroom participation during math time.
You can of course also use this as a rewards bucket and let the child pull out one item to keep. You can use it for shapes, texture, starting stories, building sentences, math, bilingual, and oodles of other ideas! My husband teaches 2nd grade and his kids just go crazy over this Mystery Hat. If we had realized all of the possibilities that you can use this hat for we would have purchased it right away.
The opening of the hat is large enough for even adults to reach into so it’s not just limited to small children! You can even use it for choosing chores in the classroom or at home! That way no one can fight over which chore they have to do! I definitely recommend Learning Resources Mystery Hat! I LOVE it, my kids love it, my husband’s love it, and his 2nd graders love it! It is certainly worth the price if that’s the only thing you’re concerned about. We haven’t dropped it on the floor so I’m not sure how it would handle that but it is a good sturdy product and I have no problem letting my 2 and 4 year old use it.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. I received the above product in order to form my own opinions. All opinions are 100% my own.