Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

This activity is about developing babies’ visual memory. First babies have to be taught to understand that when something can no longer been seen, that it does still exist. This is done with lots of hands on practice and experimentation. Once they finally understand this concept they will start to look for objects they can’t see. This activity encourages babies to enjoy exploring images that come and then disappear.

Equipment required

  • A variety of small cardboard boxes with lids, such as graze boxes, large match boxes etc. Inside, stick a picture of an appealing object from a magazine such as a piece of fruit, a flower, an animal, a vehicle, a face, a toy
  • Possible suppliers of suitable boxes:
    • Baker Ross 
    • Home Crafts
    • Graze –  or subscribe to graze for enough weeks to collect the boxes (you get to eat the snacks too this way! ) 
  • Sticky vinyl is on ebay at around £3.99 per 10 mixed A4 sheets. Seller signmakingandsupplies

Training Videos

Peek A Boo Boxes-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Sensory Sight-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


One to two weeks

How it works

Get enough small cardboard boxes that each child can have one. Large match boxes, or the flat graze boxes are ideal to use. Cover them in coloured paper or sticky back plastic so they look inviting and child friendly. Place an object or a picture inside (stuck down) in each one, e.g a picture of an animal or piece of fruit or a car etc. It should be something that the baby will recognize, you can use some existing MAD academy illustration from Guess the Sound or Walkabout Talkabout.

What to do in the class

Allow the baby time to explore the box, then ask the parent to help the baby to discover the hidden surprise within. Now give them some time to play peek a boo with the box, allowing the babies enough time to realize that every time the box opens the same picture will be inside. Now swap the box with another and repeat.

You could sit in a large circle and pass the boxes around so the child gets to see in a number of different boxes. Alternatively, but the babies in to groups of 3, Once they have had a chance to look at their own box, pass it the other person in the group and look at it. When they have seen all three, in the group put them in a line and ask “where was the cat” and then find the box containing the cat. “Where was the teddy?”etc.

Adaptations for older/younger children

Younger babies will be less able to open the box unassisted, but they will benefit from the parental interaction and looking at the brightly coloured pictures with the carer.

What to do in a nursery setting

Encourage the nursery staff to work one to one with the babies.

More instructions/inspiration

Peek-A-Boo Boxes: DIY Personalized Toy for Babies