Make A Baby’s Treasure Basket

treasurebasket Have you ever noticed how a baby’s attention (or even that of small children) often wanders away from toys to more common household objects?  Bright plastic toys might look appealing to us, but from a baby’s perspective one plastic item can seem much like another.  It is not so much that they perceive plastic toys as boringly safe, although many appeal to nothing more than the eye, but that there are so many other interesting things in the world to explore.  And when you are new to the world everything is worthy of exploration.

Treasure baskets are collections of everyday items put together for babies to explore with all their senses. Using all the senses to explore is deeply satisfying for babies and helps to stimulate brain activity. This is a rich, multi-sensory play experience. Treasure basket play is not to be rushed, but should be introduced in an atmosphere of calm when babies are alert.

Ensure the baby is well fed and rested before starting otherwise they will not be as receptive to the activity.  The role of the adult on this occasion is to be nearby, attentive and responsive but not to interfere in the baby’s exploration with chatter or by selecting objects for them. When the baby has clearly tired of exploring the contents put the basket and its contents away for another day – don’t leave it lying around all of the time.  We would expect a good session to last anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour.

Treasure baskets can be introduced to babies as soon as they can sit up.  Babies with special needs can be supported.  All babies should benefit from treasure basket play.  Although wicker baskets are traditionally favoured for this activity, it really doesn’t matter what you use to keep your collection of items together so long as it is safe.  A cardboard shoebox will do, a nice big noisy biscuit tin is interesting in its own right!

Ideas For Treasure Basket Items:

When collecting your items think of all the senses; touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight.  Try and start with at least twenty items.  You can add to your basket or ring the changes as they grow older.

The Natural Basket

  • Pine cones
  • Large shells
  • Wooden spoons
  • Wooden bangles
  • Thick rope
  • Loofah
  • Pumice stone
  • Large stones
  • Calico bags filled with scented herbs
  • Natural sponge
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Dolly pegs
  • Ribbons and cloth swatches – cotton, velvet, suede, silk

A Shiny Metal Basket

(Avoid keys and pewter objects which are high in lead!)

  • Spoons
  • Small whisk
  • Large bangles
  • A length of thick chain (the sort used for bath plugs is good)
  • Bells
  • Thali or small balti dishes
  • Curtain rings
  • Tea strainer
  • Travel sweet tins
  • Jar lids
  • Foil rescue blanket (don’t deplete your first aid supplies, buy spares!)

As babies grow older you can make themed baskets.  How about a basket of brushes?

  • Shoe brush
  • Rubber grooming brush (not used for this purpose!)
  • Paint brushes of different sizes
  • Wall paper brush
  • Nail brush
  • Dustpan brush (again not used!)
  • Soft hair brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Shaving brush

Remember to check over baskets for any broken or sharp edges regularly.  Avoid small objects that can be swallowed and keep lengths of ribbon, rope and chain short so that babies do not become entangled.

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