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The Enveloping Schema 

Children exploring the enveloping schema will have an interest in enveloping and hiding themselves and objects. They will often show an interest in dressing up or wrapping themselves in blankets, as well as, wrapping or concealing objects in fabric, paper or play dough.

Enveloping and containing may be linked to feelings of safety and warmth. Children may envelop themselves when they are feeling tired or upset as a way to block out their surroundings. 

Providing the right environment for enveloping schemas

When you look at the environment you provide, think about what is available for children to use to conceal or cover themselves and other items. You can add dressing up items – hats, jewellery, sunglasses and lengths of fabric – to your role play area. Boxes, wrapping paper, rolls of tissue and sticky tape are great additions to your craft and art supplies to allow children exploring an enveloping schema to further their understanding. 

Maths Idea

What fits in what?

This activity is great for developing mathematical thinking and problem solving with young children. It is suitable for all ages and stages of development by challenging children appropriately.

What you need:

  • Different sized boxes: jewellery boxes, shoe boxes, delivery boxes, etc.


What to do:

  • Fill an area with lots of different sized boxes and challenge children appropriately.

  • Can they fit all the boxes into one box? Can they fit three boxes inside one box?

  • How many children can fit into one box? How much of their body can fit into a box? 

Sensory and Messy Play Ideas

Provide play dough for creating enclosures around objects. You can add colouring, glitter or herbs to play dough to enhance sensory experiences

Provide blocks and sand. Children can create enclosures around mounds of sand or enclose blocks with the sand.

Place objects in water and freeze them. Children will be able to see the objects inside and play as the ice melts.

In the winter create enclosures with snow.

Create moats around sandcastles. This is great for critical thinking as children explore how to add the water. 

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