What is a Mystery Bag?


My mother’s famous Mystery Bag.

My mother worked with kids for many years, so I trusted her when she told me that the Mystery Bag is the absolute best thing to capture and hold kids’ attention for long periods of time (the hour-long music class she taught at church, for example). It’s simple to make and carry with you, depending on what you put in it, and it has the potential to become an important part of your babysitting routine.

The purpose of the Mystery Bag is to use its hidden contents as a reward or treat for good behavior, or just to make an activity more exciting because it’s a surprise. It’s a great way to help teach kids good clean-up habits, good behavior on an outing or how to resolve conflicts the right way.

This is the first of a series of posts about what to put in your Mystery Bag, so make yours now and get ready to fill it with memory-makers and teaching moments!

I found the original tutorial and these great pictures here if you’d like to take a look!

To make, you’ll need:

  • Any color/pattern pillowcase, as long as it has a wide hem on the open end (to string a ribbon through later)
  • Ribbon, long enough that it can go all the way around the pillowcase’s open edge
  • Safety pin
  • Seam ripper
  • Things to decorate your pillowcase with *optional*


6065616554_c9d50a41261. Undo the outside side seam on the open end of the pillowcase in the middle of the large hem (make sure you don’t undo the stitch around the edge that holds the hem in place). This creates a hole to string the ribbon through. You can anchor the edges of the hole to make sure it doesn’t grow bigger if you want.


Here’s what it should look like:




2. Attach the safety pin to one end or your ribbon and sort of wiggle it through the hole and around the hem all the way till you’re back at the beginning. (The picture shows an extra step, sewing around the edge of the pillowcase to create a ruffle at the top when it’s cinched shut, but that’s totally optional!)

6065067755_3c2ebe3b2c3. Take the safety pin off your ribbon, tie the two ends together and…voila! You have your very own  Mystery Bag.

This can be filled with art project supplies, visual aides to go with a book, treats, scavenger hunt objects, or the bag itself can be used to play games with! Look for more great ideas to come and don’t forget to share with us what you put in your Mystery Bag!


Photo credit: http://www.incolororder.com/2011/08/vintage-pillowcase-laundry-bag-tutorial.html

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