Monkey Trap

Monkey Trap
Photo by: Susanna

Susanna Submitted by: Susanna

Teach spatial reasoning with a hole in a box.

0 minutes
24 - 60 months
Group size
1 - 3 tots


  • 1 Cardboard box (a shoebox would work fine)
  • 1 Clear tape
  • 1 Scissors
  • 1 or more Assorted toys (long thin toys are the best for this challenge: rectangular blocks, a plastic microphone, a favorite pen, etc.)


  1. Tape the box completely shut so your child cannot open it in any way.
  2. Cut a hole in the box just big enough for your hand to fit inside. (3-4 inches in diameter)
  3. In front of your child, show how you can drop a long, thin toy in the box and retrieve it by holding the end of the toy. (If you hold the middle, you can't get it out of the hole because it is too wide)
  4. At first, your child may be simply interested in dropping toys into the box. Simply talk to him or her about what she's doing and congratulate them on dropping the toys in the box.
  5. Then ask your child if they can get a specific toy. Retrieve it yourself and then drop it back in the box.
  6. If your child tries, but can't and gets frustrated, demonstrate how you can hold the end of the toy to get it out. Then let your child try again.
Play with small toys or cloth toys that can be stuffed into and pulled out of the box easily.
Without letting your child see, hide a toy in the box and have them guess what it is without looking, but just feeling.

Developmental skills