Creating Treasure Baskets for Your Baby
What is a Treasure Basket?
A low-sided basket or box filled with natural and everyday items which babies can explore by themselves.
When can I use them?
As soon as your baby can sit up, they can enjoy playing with a treasure basket.
What is the benefit for my baby?
They support your baby’s exploration and thinking by giving them the opportunity to explore with all their senses. They can feel, taste, hear, smell, and see a variety of textures, experiment and make choices. It gives them early experience of sorting and classifying items, supports the development of fine motor skills and helps them to concentrate.
How do I prepare one?
• A wicker basket is ideal for enhancing the sensory experience but a cardboard box can also be used. Choose one which has low sides and is stable so that it is easy for your baby to see and reach inside.
• Fill it to the very top with a large selection of different items. The number of items will depend on the size of the basket, but it could be as many as 30-40 items.
• Ensure a variety of textures with minimal use of plastic.
• Ensure all items are large enough not to be a choking hazard.
• Make sure all items are clean and safe for your baby to explore.
• Add new items often, removing items that don’t appear to engage the babies at this time and adding items you think might attract their attention.
What types of items can I fill it with?
- Natural items such as large pebbles, fir cones, feathers, leaves & shells
- Natural materials such as brushes, sponges, mats, bamboo, wool & wood
- Metal objects such as spoons, whisks, whistles and bells
- Wooden objects such as pegs, egg cups, curtain rings, bowls & spoons
- Paper and card objects such as boxes, rolls, pieces of tin foil & greaseproof paper
- Other suitable objects such as a leather purse, a shower puff or exfoliating mitt, pieces of fabric, small toy, bean bag, lavender or other herb bags
For safety reasons keep an eye out for any objects that have pieces broken off or have become unsafe and throw them away. Never use any items that are smaller than those that can fit into a choke tube like the one shown on this link:
How do I use it?
• Place the basket in an area free of other distractions.
• Sit close to your baby, watching and letting them take the lead.
• Interact with your baby when they initiate this. Allow them to make their own choices about what to explore and how to do this.
• Use the Treasure Basket daily or several times a week, to enhance your baby’s opportunities to explore
For safety reasons never leave your baby alone with a treasure basket, and always supervise their playtime with the basket.
What should I expect?
Items in a Treasure Basket can engage your baby for up to an hour. They can be very discriminating about what items they want to explore so don’t be surprised if they only wish to explore a few of them! You will quickly learn what types of items grab their attention.
This will give you useful information on their interests which you can use to plan other experiences for them.
We hope you enjoy your treasure baskets as much as we do!