Stuffed Animal Mystery

Robert Rockwell, Debra Reichert Hoge, and Bill Searcy

Robert Rockwell, Debra Reichert Hoge, and Bill Searcy show kid-friendly ways for the practice of oral language skills in:
Linking Language: Simple Language and Literacy Activites Throughout the Curriculum

This activity demonstrates the powerful use of barriers to promote language, as visual clues are eliminated. One child must describe a mystery item to another child who cannot see it. The child who is guessing will need to pose questions to get more information about the mystery item.

What you will need:

  • Stuffed animals (children could bring from home)
  • Pillowcase
  • Box (large enough to cover mystery items)

Words you can use:

  • mystery
  • sack
  • guess
  • clue
  • think
  • soft
  • big
  • little
  • small
  • large

What to do:

  • – One child fills a pillowcase with familiar stuffed animals.
  • – She tells the other children to close their eyes or to face in the opposite direction.
  • – She takes an animal from the pillowcase and hides it from view under a box.
  • – She tells the other children to open their eyes or to turn around.
  • – She uses words to describe the mystery animal without naming it.
  • – The other children listen and as descriptions are given, they ask questions that will help them identify the stuffed animal.
  • – After the stuffed animal is identified, another child takes a turn selecting an animal and describing it to the other children.


  • Describe vegetables that will be eaten at snack.
  • Describe dolls, toys, objects, or equipment in the classroom.

Questions to assess language development

    • Can children give enough information to allow a reasonable guess?
    • Do children listen for descriptive words that enhance their guessing?

Literacy Connections

  • Golden Bear by Ruth Young
    Children will enjoy this rhythmic story about a little boy and his perfect companion, a golden bear.
  • Jamaica’s Find by Juanita Havill
    Jamaica finds a cuddly toy dog in the park and she takes it home. Later, Jamaica finds the girl who belongs to the dog and makes a new friend.
  • Just Look by Tana Hoban
    Peep through the hole and try to guess what object is in the brilliant photos. Then turn the page to see if you’re right.
  • Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough
    When Eddie loses his teddy bear and tries to find it in the woods, he meets a very large bear with the same problem.
  • – Make a class chart of the children’s stuffed animals. Let children dictate a sentence about their stuffed animal. Record their words on the chart (for example, "Tim brought a yellow dog," or "Miranda brought a shiny, green snake"). Read the chart together, pointing to the words as you read. Leave it up for several days to read again and again.
  • – Have small blank books available for children to create books about their own stuffed animal. Pages can be used to describe their animal. For example, "My teddy bear is brown. My teddy bear is fuzzy." Encourage them to write, or write their words for them in their books.
  • – Help children make riddle charts. On large paper children can write or dictate a clue describing one of the stuffed animals. On the back they can illustrate and write the answer. Hang up the charts and read them together.

This activity (excerpt) is taken from:
Linking Language: Simple Language and Literacy Activites Throughout the Curriculum
by Robert Rockwell, Debra Reichert Hoge, and Bill Searcy
Page 20. ISBN: 0876592027
© 1999. Gryphon House, Inc.

See all of our Activites that Build Oral Language Skills