Treasure Baskets

I’ve been trying to write this post for nearly three years! It was one of the reasons I started NHM, but I was too inexperienced at the beginning to use my own words. I know this is the cardinal sin of blogging, so I’ve finally got around to putting this down in my own words!

I discovered the joy of Treasure Baskets when my little one was very small and I joined a Baby PEEP class at a local Children’s Centre. The PEEP class was by far the best class I attended and I learnt an awful lot.  I’m so disappointed to see that baby PEEP is no longer on the Children’s centre timetables.

Treasure baskets and boxes are such a simple idea, but so effective. Miss NHM was 10 weeks old when we were both introduced to treasure baskets and I was amazed at how enthralled she was with them, even at 10 weeks old!

I still remember vividly how absorbed she became with each of the items and how she was leaning into the basket, at 10 weeks old, to see what she could find. It was one of the defining moments for me, of the first few months of her life.

Apparently Treasure baskets have been used for decades by childcare professionals as a means of teaching young babies how to select, touch, taste and feel. They are closely linked to the Montessori teaching method.

You don’t need to spend any money on your treasure baskets and boxes. After the PEEP class, I remember getting home and going through the house finding things that I thought would be suitable. I found things that were too big for Miss NHM to swallow but had lots of different textures.

The items in the basket changed over the months as Miss NHM’s understanding grew. She still plays with several of the items now, including a plastic hand held juicer that I’ve never actually used!

Over the past three years, I’ve read a lot about treasure baskets and spent a lot of time putting them together. Below are some ideas for treasure baskets that I’ve used. I hope you find them useful, especially if this rain continues!

Ideas for Treasure Baskets

Natural objects

  • Pine Cones – make sure all the seeds have been removed/shaken out
  • big shells
  • Large walnuts
  • Pumice stones
  • Fruit

Wood

  • rattles
  • spoons
  • bowls
  • napkin rings 

Metal

  • Spoons
  • tea strainer
  • bunch of keys
  • garlic squeezer

Here are some tips to enhance the experience:

  • Place the basket close to your child so they can reach each object and move things around easily
  • Pick a time when they are well fed and alert – their enjoyment will last longer.
  • Whilst it’s really an experience for them to indulge in by themselves, it’s important to be close by so you can step in if they need help.
  • Change and move the items around in the basket to keep the activity fresh.
  • Check the basket regularly to ensure all of the items are still intact and therefore, not dangerous for your child to play with.
  • Once your baby becomes mobile, place baskets on shelves low to the ground so they can help themselves to different objects.

Treasure Box Resources

Etsy treasure baskets (you can buy an already made treasure basket from here…but where’s the fun in that!)

Treasure Basket Play (American website but still has some good ideas)

Netmums: treasure baskets (a great list for treasure baskets with themes)

Do you have any other suggestions for treasure baskets for other Mum’s to use?

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