More about Treasure Baskets

Awesome post by Shona!!!!

More about Treasure Baskets

Why use treasure baskets?

Treasure baskets have been used for decades by parents and childcare workers for teaching babies about different sensory items. Babies learn through touching, tasting, smelling, hearing and seeing. As babies get older, they may start to combine objects too, for example, they may use a wooden spoon to bang on a bowl. As babies will put these things into their mouths to learn about them, you must ensure there are no parts that are too small for the age of your baby. Treasure baskets are really good for babies who are not yet on the move, because it offers a wide variety of items to explore safely within reach.

Physically, your child will be developing control of their arms and their arm strength. They will also be developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as they are holding and moving items around.

How to use your treasure basket 

Babies will need to be alert and there is enough time for them to be able to explore so don’t rush them. Sit them where they are comfortable and put the basket down near them. Sit close to them so you can deal with any issues but not so close that you are interfering, after all we want them to explore themselves. Don’t interrupt unless they want your attention or need your help. Check the contents of the basket regularly and remove any damaged items. Clean regularly, some items can be sterilised if you prefer. Remember your child is learning and so it’s important to almost leave them to it. They may play with very few items but this is because their concentration level is much higher than normal and they may be focussed on trying to do something specific.

When to begin using a treasure basket

Babies of all ages can use and appreciate a treasure basket, however it will need to contain items that are appropriate to their age. Babies that can’t sit could be placed on their tummy to explore items placed around them. Babies that can sit can be sat with the basket in front of them so they can reach for it themselves.

Ideas of items to put into a treasure basket

  • Toothbrush
  • Spiral toast rack
  • Corks
  • Loofah
  • Lemon squeezer
  • Large wooden dice
  • Small rolling pin
  • Curtain rings
  • Leaves
  • Scent bags
  • Old keys
  • Funnell
  • Jar tops
  • Mirror
  • Metal bowl
  • Baby spoons / forks
  • Tea strainer
  • Leather purse
  • Tennis ball
  • Bath plug
  • Wooden spoon
  • Rubber ducks
  • Soft ball
  • Hair comb
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Tin foil
  • Rattles
  • Wooden dolly pegs
  • Bobbins / cotton reels
  • Feathers
  • Pastry brush
  • Soft baby brush
  • Mini bean bags
  • Napkin rings
  • Silicone spoon
  • Wool
  • Wooden egg cup
  • Ribbons
  • Old remote control or mobile phone
  • Grass
  • Shoe brush
  • House painting brush
  • Rocks
  • Seashells
  • Musical instruments
  • Wooden massager with roller balls
  • Beaded necklaces / bracelets
  • Bells
  • Hair rollers
  • Acorns
  • Kitchen roll tubes
  • Rubber glove
  • Whisk
  • Dish cloth
  • Laminated photos
  • Pine cones
  • Sponge
  • An old CD
  • Fluffy flannel
  • Cotton wool
  • Various different materials – silk, chiffon, net curtain
  • Various sizes cardboard boxes
  • Felt – either pieces or shapes made from felt

Empty bottles – what can you do with them?

You could also use margarine tubs or empty baby food jars and fill with assorted things but you must ensure they are sealed completely shut.

Dry items – rice, pasta, lentils, buttons, hard beans, spaghetti, beads

Wet items – water with food colouring, water with glitter, water with sequins, water with buttons, ice cubes.

These items will need to be checked regularly to ensure the lids are still shut firmly and not damaged.

Food treasure baskets

For a fresh idea for lunch/snack times you could do a treasure basket with foods. You could use a tupperware box and select different textures of food to put inside. This could be good for fussy eaters too as they are able to select things they want to try and eat. You could use:

  • Bread – a variety of types
  • Breadsticks
  • Rice cakes
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Different coloured cheeses
  • Raisins
  • Dried fruit
  • Banana
  • Citrus fruits
  • Biscuits
  • Cooked meats
  • Pretzels
  • Biscuits

Colour baskets

You could also have baskets filled with all different colours. You could create a basket full of red, green or blue items. Younger children will greatly enjoy contrasting objects so black and white would be great for young babies. Older children may really enjoy a large rainbow of colours.

Making scent bags

Babies will love smelling all different things. You could make scent bags of your own by buying organza bags or if you are able to sew, make little bags yourself and fill them with different herbs, wood shavings, lavender, potpourri or spices. You could also use essential oils and soak a drop or two onto hankies.

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