If your son or daughter is especially fond of den-making, climbing into boxes or dressing up in layers of clothing such as multiple necklaces or lots of hats... then your child is exploring their enveloping schema.
Does your child love to make dens, climb into boxes or dress up in layers of clothing such as multiple necklaces or lots of hats? Or do they enjoy filling empty boxes with bits and pieces, wrapping dolls up in blankets or creating homes for their toys? If so, then they may be exploring their enveloping schema.
A schema is a mental model of how the world works. Children investigate the boundaries of their understanding through repeated testing. They are trying to see if their theory is correct. If I wrap something up can I still see it? Can I feel it? What if I wrap it in translucent fabric? Or paper? Or put it in a cupboard? Is it still there when I open or unwrap? (see also our post on object permanence).
A child investigating the idea of enveloping will repeatedly drop your keys behind the radiator or open the bin and look inside - maybe finding a tasty morsel for good measure!
If you think your child is an enveloper, here are some activities to support their investigations:
- Use posting toys, Russian dolls, nesting toys and shape sorters
- Wrap up baby dolls in blankets
- Play doctors or vets with plenty of bandages
- Make sock or glove puppets
- Wrap up parcels (Christmas is great for envelopers!) and use paper, newspaper, string, sellotape, ribbons