Treasure Baskets: What Are They?!

Creating a treasure basket is one of my favourite things to do when I want Ella (currently 7 months) to step away from the ‘regular toys’ we have in our house (think plastic, brightly coloured items). I remember making one for my son when he was a similar age, and I cant tell you how long it kept him occupied for.

So what is a treasure basket I hear you ask?

A treasure basket is quite simply a box (or wicker basket if you’re fancy) placed with items – normally bits and pieces you will find around the house – inside. The great thing is, babies tend to really enjoy treasure baskets and for the most part, they’re totally free! Elinor Goldschmied was the brilliant mind behind the invention of the treasure basket and it is suggested that the idea came to her after watching evacuee children play with non-toy objects.

So what you might you find in a treasure basket? The number one item of choice for Ella is the trusty wooden spoon (she’s even been known to take it with her in her pram – with strict supervision of course). Other interesting things you might add include:

- a sieve

- a whisk

- a loofah or bathroom sponge

- a traditional ‘dolly’ peg

- a soft ‘baby’ hairbrush

- seashells

- citrus fruit

- pine cones

- an empty egg carton

Obviously do make sure that you check the items for damage and ensure that you clean and inspect them regularly.

Treasure baskets work really well for babies who are sitting. Simply place the basket near to them and allow them to reach in and take what they are drawn to. Having said that, treasure baskets can be used for younger babies too. Once baby is in a highchair you can place the basket in front of them, or place some items in front of them during tummy time.

How do they help with development? Treasure baskets are a sensory delight for nearly all of the senses – touch, sight, smell and sound. Baby may also want to ‘taste’ the items as placing things in their mouth is their favourite way of learning but please exercise caution. Babies can develop gross motor skills (the movement of large muscles in the body) such as sitting upright and balancing, as well as fine motor skills (small muscle movements) such as grasping, squeezing and the pincer grip. Further to this, treasure baskets promote decision making as baby has a plethora of items to choose from and stimulate curiosity.

Have you made a treasure basket? What items did you include? Let us know in the comments!

Lastly, please remember that generally, treasure baskets contain ‘non-toys’. Please don’t leave baby alone with these items.

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