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The why and how of treasure baskets

Treasure baskets are a cheap (or even free) and straightforward way to engage all your baby’s senses during playtime. Babies learn best when all their senses and limbs are actively “doing”, and treasure baskets can help nurture their natural curiosity.

The goal is to stimulate your baby’s curiosity and have them interact independently with the objects whilst sitting up, but treasure baskets offer many benefits.

  • A sense of curiosity will motivate lifelong learning.
  • Developing concentration enables brain development.
  • Treasure baskets are multisensory, and babies learn through touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell.
  • They can help babies develop their decision-making skills by choosing an item and how they want to interact with it.

Before you run off to put together your baby’s first treasure basket, here are some of our top considerations when introducing treasure baskets.

What type of basket is best?

  • A shallow basket will help your baby easily choose, reach for and remove objects independently.
  • Although you don’t need to buy a special basket, it’s best to avoid plastic or a material that will make a noise. Opt for natural materials, like rope or wicker.
  • Choose a basket with a heavier base to keep it from flipping over.
  • Where possible, choose an aesthetically pleasing basket your baby will enjoy. 

What do you put in your basket?

  • Consider safety first. Don’t put in any small objects or anything that could become a choking hazard if the child puts it into their mouth (which they almost certainly will).
  • Add items that will spark your baby’s curiosity and interest, but a good mix of different textures, shapes and looks are always interesting.
  • Have a mixture of natural and man-made objects.
  • Select items that will stimulate more than one sense, e.g., something with an exciting texture and pleasing smell.
  • Some parents choose to do a theme but don’t overcomplicate things. See below for some ideas.

Ideas for what to put in a treasure basket

  • Things that smell - lemon peel, herbs or a small bag of flower petals
  • Things that are black & white - Small bags, pieces of material, or socks
  • Things that make a noise - Small toys with bells in, dog toys (clean ones, obviously), scrunched up baking paper, or sweet wrappers.
  • Things that reflect - small pocket mirrors, shiny spoons, or metal cups
  • Things made of wood - wooden spoons, egg cups, or building blocks

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