Treasure Baskets

You will need:

Select a wicker basket that is round, with a flat bottom. Round is best because it is more comfortable for the child to sit next to.

Ideal dimensions are a height of 10-12cm and 35cm diameter

Needs to be strong enough for a baby to lean on (therefore no handles)

A Treasure Basket needs to have a rich variety of natural or household items for exploring with all the senses.

The items should vary in colour, texture, weight, fluidity, smell, temperature i.e. warm such as wood, cold such as metal or jade.

The Activity:

  • Try and create a place that has minimal or no other distractions (clear all other toys away).
  • Fill the basket to the top with a range of natural and everyday items. The aim of the collection is to fully engage the baby’s five senses; touch, sight, sound, smell and taste.
  • Allow 30 minutes to an hour every day for a baby to explore and play with the Treasure Basket.
  • Use the treasure basket as an opportunity for your baby to explore objects try not to guide or reinforce through direction or praise. Simply observe and enable your child to explore free from interference.
  • Provide reassurance by sitting close by but not interfering with a running commentary on what the baby is doing. This is a time for deep exploration without distraction.

Sentences to introduce during the activity to support language development

It may feel like you are doing nothing, but in fact, you are giving your baby a rich, stimulating and exciting experience that will help develop their confidence, concentration and understanding of the world around them.

Use key words and repetition as it occurs naturally during play

How this supports your child's learning:

Lots of toys nowadays are made of plastic. Although plastic can be very colourful, it all feels, smells and tastes the same, making it boring and unstimulating to a baby’s senses.

Have you ever wondered why a baby prefers the box and wrapping to the contents? Probably because it feels better to touch, smells more interesting and can make great sounds when you move it!

Babies gain a rich sensory experience through sucking, handling and putting items into their mouths. By doing this they are also learning about weight, size, shape, texture, sound and smell.

Extending The Activity:

  • Regularly change the items in the treasure basket and introduce new objects, as interests will change and develop
  • Hide items under a blanket or material- play a peek-a-boo game
  • Use containers to hide object- to encourage further investigation of items.

Top Tip:

This is a time to observe and be led by your child’s pace and interest. Use lots of praise and encouragement when they look to you for reassurance and support.

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