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Treasure Baskets

A treasure basket can give an immobile baby the opportunity to explore everyday things.

Treasure Basket 3

Usually forbidden things, you know how babies love to reach for your house or car keys when they are in sight. Well in treasure basket play we can give them that chance to explore the forbidden articles along with other natural objects like stones, pine cones and wooden clothes pegs.

 This play, or work, as it is to the baby, is very important. It makes the baby use its brain to store and remember the new experiences of handling different household objects. Even at this early stage a baby can learn to make judgements, estimates and predictions to develop skills needed to get through life and as a basis for mathematics.

When you have got your treasure basket things together, you need to think about when you should present the treasure basket to the baby.

Treasure Basket 2
Examples of items that can be included

When the baby can sit on the floor comfortably, supported by cushions at first, or parent's legs, no distractions, no TV, a treasure basket is the ideal item to explore.

This is a quiet time, where the baby can feel, taste, look, hear and smell the things in the basket.

The Basket must be flat-bottomed and wide open, filled to the brim with a variety of everyday and natural objects (if possible no plastic).

The baby must be in the mood to play. At 6 months plus babies are awake a lot longer and need to widen their experience of playthings. Pick a time when the baby is quiet and content, after lunch or mid afternoon is usually a good time. Sit nearby or on the floor with the baby, do not distract the baby or engage in too much talk. No TV or radio, this is baby's time to think and use his/her brain.

Also a note to remember, the baby is now about 6 months, his/her immune system is developing and can cope with putting objects in his/her mouth in discovery play.

When the baby has had enough he/she will be very tired, may cry or show frustration. This is the time to take the basket away and give him/her a big cuddle.

Treasure Basket 1
Treasure Basket 1

You know yourself how tiring it is to concentrate for long periods of time. Length of time has to build up, short to start with as the baby gets used to the treasure basket he/she can play longer. They will let you know when they have had enough.

Once the baby is walking a treasure basket is no longer appropriate. Stones could be thrown or dropped, items scattered. The window of time for a treasure basket is short, make the most of it.


Possible Items to use in a Treasure Basket
ShellsLarge corksLoofahs
Pumice stonesAvocado stonesWhole fruit
Small coconutWoollen pompom Chains
Small basketsSmall boxesWooden brush
Bone spoonMirrorBell
Clothes pegsBunch of keysTins
Shiny lidsGarlic press  Melon baler
Chains CastanetsBulldog clip
WhistleTea strainerFunnel
Leather pursePowder puffFur fabric
Velvet materialTasselsWooden spoon
Tennis ballQuoit ringPine cones
TambourinePaint brushBean bag
Spectacle caseRound stones (biggish)Hairbrush
Egg whiskMake-up bagShaving brush
Massage rollerMarble eggsWhisk
Costume jewellerySmall wooden bowlGlitzy pan scourers
Cotton reelsSoap on a ropeMuslin bags full of herbs
  Brass curtain rings Wooden beads on thread
Tins made into shakers Pretty perfume bottle tops