Enveloping & containing

A child who has an enveloping schema is interested in enveloping itself and objects or a space. It is very closely related to containment.

A child with an enveloping schema may:

  • Like to wrap themselves in material.
  • Make parcels containing every day objects.
  • Cover their hands and body with paint.
  • Paint a picture and then cover it with a solid layer of paint.

If a child has an enveloping schema parents/carers may like to provide:

  • Blankets to wrap dolls and themselves in.
  • Dressing up clothes.
  • Paper and newspaper to make parcels.
  • Be allowed to paint themselves.

A child who has a containing schema loves to put one thing inside another.

A child with a containing schema may:

  • Like putting things in bags and pots.
  • Enjoy shape sorting toys.
  • Climb into boxes.
  • Love filing up buckets with sand.
  • Draw or paint pictures then draw circles or boxes around them.

If a child has a containment schema parents/carers may like to provide:

  • Pots with things they can fill them with.
  • Containers to fill in the bath or sink.
  • Dry play, e.g. pasta with pots to fill.
  • Boxes and tents to go in.


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