Have you started your babies' treasure basket?

If your moving baby is anything like mine he’ll have discovered all the things that are at his level. For my youngest this means pots, pan lids, the food shelf with boxes, cans and packets all at some stage end up on the floor. He’s drawn to draws that open and shut and buttons to turn- and that’s only in the kitchen.

He’s drawn to the shapes and textures and must reach out and touch, explore and mouth it. Imagine my delight when I read at Bethany Project the idea of a treasure basket.

Treasure Basket, invented by Elinor Goldschmied in her book: ˜People under 3 is a strong basket (about 30 cm in diameter) filled with about 100 everyday and natural things (no plastic or toys) of different size, shape, feel, weight, smell, taste and sound. It needs to have a rim the height of a mug so it will not tip over when a baby leans on it for support.

I must point out that Treasure baskets are intended for use with babies aged six to nine months, when they are able to sit alone but are not yet mobile. Older babies and toddler still derive great benefit. You just have to be more vigilant because they are mobile with the treasure basket objects. But with you supervising- no problem.

Where do you find some of the things to go into the treasure basket? In my kitchen.

Why I like it?

He is going to explore and play anyway. I know he loves to do this so provide him with a basket of items to play with. There is a list of suggestions for objects- that can be found in the home or outside here and below. There should be no plastic items. I can find many of the treasure basket items quickly and easily. You can even order one.

Discovery play or heuristic play is quite a popular notion for babies. Valerie Jackson’s article
talks reassuringly about the safety and hygienic aspect of giving your baby or toddler some of the more unusual items on the list. Naturally we know our babies and choose things suitable for their age. For example a heavy metal ball is safe for a baby to handle but a toddler may likely throw it. Always check the treasure basket before you use it to make sure all the items are safe to use. Put the treasure basket out of reach when you’ve finished your time together.

She rightly points out babies find these treasure basket items anyway. If the treasure box items are provided under supervision by a sitting, smiling encouraging adult but with no direction. They can also intervene. Allowing the toddler to choose pick up discover they will make discoveries of textures, shapes, smell, taste and temperature.

Children can have a safe fun time, with you there. Their growing brain thrives on the new sensory experiences building new connections promoting their development. They have not developed the language to say ‘that feels heavy /cold/rough/smooth’ and so on but they will think it.

What to include?

Selection of everyday natural items. For example;

  • Wooden and metal spoons
  • Sponge
  • Metal whisks
  • Shells
  • Fir cone
  • Pieces of fabric, including leather, suede, Hessian and sheepskin
  • Small tins with lids
  • Nail brushes ( preferably wooden)
  • Bottle brushes/pastry brushes
  • Ribbon
  • Wooden instruments
  • Large smooth stones( bought or collect-then washed and checked thoroughly)
  • Cork coasters
  • Wooden curtain rings
  • Fruit
  • Wooden or metal balls
  • Smooth pieces of wood
  • Safe metal chains
  • Unbreakable mirrors

Once your baby becomes a toddler there are new treasure basket items to add and fun activities to try. This will be explored in a later article.

For more information, ideas, suggestions and safety advice on treasure baskets try these links



Sure start The treasure basket

Let me help you learn the background and walk you through how to make your own Treasure Basket.

Share what’s in your treasure basket ?

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  1. This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing it with the Carnival of SAHMs.


  1. Mom Is Teaching » Blog Archive » 4th Carnival of SAHMs says:

    […] break out of mommy-mode maybe you could try making something new for your children. Melitsa asks us Have you started your babies’ treasure basket? posted at Play-Activities.com, saying, “Little one’s are always getting into things. […]

  2. […] presents Have you started your babies’ treasure basket? posted at […]

  3. […] Treasure basket play 2. Homemade Rattle 3. Wooden key ring: Babies love to mouth everything. It’s there way of […]

  4. […] goes to their mouth. They need to be safe but let them explore various natural objects. Start your treasure basket. Talk to them about what they are experiencing using gestures the more you talk & gestures […]

  5. […] him engaged and entertained. Better than the board books we had brought. I’ve written about treasure basket play for babies before and during Operation Playtime. I’ve just finished an ebook that gives more examples and shows […]

  6. […] you’re new to Treasure basket play, I’ve written about Treasure basket play before as well as having a 7 day ecourse and a How to set up and use your own Treasure basket ebook […]

  7. […] Treasure Basket Play shows you step by step how to effectively and safely set up and use a treasure basket in your home today that will engage and challenge your baby each time they use the basket. Treasure basket play is suitable for sitting babies to approximately 12 months. Read more about Treasure Basket Play […]

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