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Lock & Key Combination

“Every lock has a key… Just try to identify or rather find it.” Lock and key matching can be trivial as well as ambiguous for kids. By deciding combinations, we overcome the challenge through our own process of trial and error, by developing not only the practical life skill of how to use various locks and keys but also finding the independence and resilience to work through a struggle diligently.


Playful behavior has positive effects on the brain and on a child’s ability to learn. It functions as an important, if not crucial, a mode for learning. Playing a lock and key improves memory. It helps in promoting creative problem-solving.

It's a simple way to understand complex mathematical principles like permutation and combinations. FYI a total of the number of combinations one can build is



  • Paper Rolls

  • Chart paper

  • Black Permanent Marker

  • Glue


  1. Take 4 different color chart papers and cut strips of equal size

  2. On the strips write numbers 0 to 5 separating them with a line, make sure they are equidistant on all the strips

  3. Now, take the paper roll and roll these chart paper strips on them, but not sticking them completely. They should be stuck just by the edges, they should be able to freely roll move

  4. Decide your key, make combinations and enhance your skills

Bonus Steps:

Given this example, one can create a total of combinations as:

6! x 4 = (1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6) x 4 = 2880. Test this out manually by only making 3 series and picking up number 1,2,3. So this will add up to 3! x 3 = (1 x 2 x 3) x 3 = 18.

Learning Opportunity:

  • Cognitive development and motor skills are important for your child’s physical development and overall well being

  • They assist in refining our balance, strength, muscle endurance and coordination

  • Developing these skills, also boost kid’s confidence and self-esteem along with increasing their ability to assess risk

  • It relieves their stress and frustration

  • It, therefore, seems plausible that this activity itself influences the cognitive development of the kids

Time Required: 10 minutes

Cost: < $2

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