Making a treasure basket or treasure bag is a great way to provide your little one with lots of wonderful sensory play opportunities.
Babies and young children love to touch, feel and explore. It’s through these sensory experiences that they learn. Sensory play is important for developing their senses and laying the foundations for all future learning.
If you want to create your own treasure basket, it’s easier than you think.
Top tips for creating a treasure basket
Introduce everyday items that you find around the house
Items should be clean and non-toxic
Items shouldn’t be too small/plastic or electronic
Present the items in low sided baskets that are easily accessible for babies
Alternate items to keep children interested
Set baskets out in a relaxed environment, sit back and let your child explore and make their own choices and discoveries
Always supervise your little one while they are playing with a treasure basket
What to put in a treasure basket
It’s a good idea to create a number of themed baskets e.g. metallic, natural/wooded, noisy, textile. Have a look around the house and see what you can find. Or scour bargain stores for objects. The following is a list of suggestions for each basket but this list is not exhausted.
Metallic treasure basket
Jam jar lids
Small metal bowls
Piece of foil blanket
Length of chain
Wood/natural treasure basket
Small wooden bowl
Piece of foil blanket
Textile treasure basket
The benefits of treasure baskets
Using real-life, everyday objects in play is really nothing new. For generations, children have had endless hours of fun playing with household items. As a child, I loved nothing better than to bang a wooden spoon on my mum’s saucepans or make mud pies in the garden using a variety of old kitchen utensils and pans.
Treasure baskets filled with lots of sensory treats, provide endless benefits for babies and young children.
Playing and Learning
By providing treasure baskets full of lots of different and interesting things, you are stimulating all the senses and helping your child understand the world around them.
The objects in treasure baskets offer opportunities for open-ended discovery and can be used in a variety of ways. Because the items are open ended, they allow children to use their imagination and to be creative. They can take risks, without a fear of failure.
The nature of the items provided is likely to create great interest and maintain your child’s focus. Children will be fascinated by the wide variety of objects that all look, feel and, potentially, sound different.
Because play is opened-ended, there is no right or wrong way to play with the items, this helps to build confidence and increases motivation and satisfaction.
Providing such a variety of different objects, gives countless opportunities to introduce new vocabulary. Think about how you can describe the different textures, shapes, sounds and materials. Something that is limited with commercial, plastic toys.
Creating and thinking critically
Children will use the items in a number of different ways and treasure baskets offer endless opportunities for children to be creative and think critically.
Treasure baskets give lots of opportunity for trial and error and problem solving. Watch a group of young children with a treasure basket and observe how they all use the same item in a variety of ways.
Beyond the Treasure Basket
Treasure baskets are ideal from when your baby can sit up to early 3 year olds, but don’t let natural play stop there. Think about how you can continue to use everyday, household items in play – in water and sand play, outdoors in the mud kitchen, in all sorts of role play. The opportunities are endless and the benefits are great.