What's In There?

Encourage your child to use his power of investigation while playing a game together about discovery!

  • Target Age:  3-6
  • Learning Goals: Investigation; Observation; Guessing from Clues
  • Related EpisodeEpisode 4279: What’s in Big Bird’s Nest?


  • One pillow case
  • 3 or more child-friendly objects such as a ball of socks, a book, a crayon or a toy block


  1. Explain to your child that when he does not know the answer to something, he can investigate, like the Princess from the Princess and the Pea story did, to figure it out.
  2. Place an object inside the pillow case and invite your child to discover “What’s in there?”
  3. Encourage him to feel outside the pillow case. Then encourage your child to reach inside the pillow case and feel the object.
  4. Invite him to guess out loud as he explores. As your child uses his sense of touch and encourage him to talk about what he feels. What is the shape of the object? Is it hard or soft? Is it big or small? Remind him that one way to discover answers to questions is by building on what he already knows. You might ask, “Does it feel like something you have held or played with before?”
  5. After your child correctly identifies the object or makes a certain number of guesses, encourage him to pull the object out of the pillow case and reveal what it is.
  6. Continue to play with different objects and congratulate your child on using his investigative skills!

Talk About It

Ask your child which object was the easiest to figure out, and talk about why. Did he learn more about the object by feeling outside the pillow case or inside the pillow case?

Take it Further

Help your child find different household objects by giving him clues about their location. Use language such as on top of, in front of, next to and under. For example, you might say, "I am looking for something blue that is on top of the table. Can you find it?" As you continue to play, try more challenging clues such as, "I am looking for something that is on top of the table and next to the lamp."


Find more activities featuring your child’s favorite PBS KIDS character!