Treasure Baskets

A treasure basket is a very simple activity that can be quickly put together and it doesn't have to cost a thing!

Baby playing with treasure basket

This is a Montessori activity that allows babies to safely explore and discover things that they will find in their everyday environment and help them to become familiar with them. Once your baby is able to sit and grasp objects he is ready for a treasure basket. All you need to do is find a basket or box and fill it with up to about 20 items that will be appealing to your child.
For our first treasure basket I found a low, wide basket which worked perfectly. My boy was able to easily see what was inside, he picked things out, put them back, mouthed them, banged them and tipped the basket up to get more. The thing that I loved most about this was that everything in it were toys that he had already seen (I was keen to get started so filled it quickly with small teethers and toys of different textures), and yet just putting them in the basket made them so much more interesting for him, he played with them with a new sense of wonder. I think the fact that they were all in one place and he got to decide what he wanted to play with gave him a sense of control and independence that was missing when the were strewn across the floor and crawled over too many times.

Baby playing with treasure basket

Recommendations for which items to include are that they are safe for mouthing and age appropriate, that they appeal to all 5 senses and include things of different shapes, textures, smells, colours and weights. Also, natural materials are encouraged over plastic as plastic all ends up feeling and tasting the same. This seems obvious but it is easily forgotten when plastic toys are so readily available and given to us. They can look bright and colourful and very different from each other but in reality they are only giving our babies one taste and texture to discover. You know the saying about babies loving the wrapping paper more than the present? Well that's what these treasure baskets aim to do, give them the paper not the toys! Give them the brush or the whisk that they see you using. Allow them to feel them, experience them and best of all it can follow their interests so easily. Their curiosity, focus and determination will be so much stronger when we do this, I'm more than convinced!

There are many different ideas for things to put in your treasure basket and themes you could follow. Some popular ideas include baskets based on colours or shapes. We have also had fun with our cultural treasure basket and great success with our calming basket for those stressful and noisy moments in our life.

I would love to hear about some treasure baskets that you have put together!

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