Today I want to talk to you about the treasure basket (scroll down to watch my video about the treasure basket and heuristic play).
It’s aimed at babies between 6 months to roughly one year of age.
When your baby can sit unaided, you can introduce the treasure basket.
What is a treasure basket?
But what even is a treasure basket?
It’s a collection of objects – of everyday objects. It’s not specifically toys, it is a collection of objects that you would find around your house and also natural items.
These objects need to be interesting for your baby to explore, especially through the five senses.
Young babies like to explore things by touching, smelling and manipulating. Obviously, they also see the objects and they would shake something that makes music to see if it makes sound, but mainly they’re going to just manipulate with their hands.
Why is it important to provide this kind of sensorial stimulation?
Because (usually) toys you find in shops will be made of plastic and will be in very bright colours, but for a child, young baby or toddler, there will not be any difference between two similar plastic toys.
They don’t have any understanding of what the toy represents yet.
For your child, it’s more interesting to explore objects that are made of natural material.
So with that said, this is how to make your treasure basket:
- A basket or any kind of large container. If you don’t have a pretty wicker basket, that’s fine, just use whatever you have – a salad bowl or a plastic container will do just as well.
- You can, even today, gather objects around your house, and you will find many objects that are interesting from a sensorial point of view for your baby.
- The idea is to have around 80 to 100 objects in your treasure basket so that your child has plenty to explore.
- The key is variety: different textures, sizes, smells and shapes.
- Some examples: small boxes, lids, corks, a wooden spoon, a metallic whisk, bangles, a loofa, a pinecone, a starfish, napkin holders, wooden toys, fabrics, an empty spice jar, a lavender pillow and etc.
- 2 books to help you go further: Developing play for the under 3’s, Treasure baskets and beyond
I had the pleasure about the treasure basket and heuristic play with Elizabeth Hugues from I don’t need toys. Watch this very practical interview.