Ever get frustrated that your baby would rather play with a cardboard box than the expensive toy sat in the corner? It has been a parent’s lament for many a decade. So, why do we bother buying such fantastical toys that the babies in our lives don’t even care about?! Ah, the wonderful power of advertising!! Here, despite the fact that grandparents and other relatives think we’re odd and when we go out instead of the usual baby toys people carry with them, I pull out whisks and ribbons, we have not bought our daughter any “toys”. Any actual toys she owns came as gifts from others. Why? Well, because she’d rather play with stuff in the house already, and hey, if it’s in my house already that means I’m not paying for it………………BARGAIN! And so we come to treasure baskets. If you have never heard of a treasure basket before, here’s a little introduction. Treasure baskets are a proven Montessori teaching method which is based on learning through touch, taste and sound. Treasure baskets can be introduced from a very early age, via things like a jar filled with dried pulses, or beads that you can roll back and forth for baby.
When introducing a treasure basket:
– try to pick a time when your little one isn’t tired or hungry
-place basket within reach of baby
-allow baby to choose his/her own item fron the basket to investigate while you sit nearby and talk to baby about the item. For instance you could describe the object they have chosen to investigate.
-check all items before play to look for signs of wear and tear
–stay with baby at all times during play!
-rotate items regularly to keep baby’s interest
So what kinds of things do you put into a treasure basket? Well, some people do mixed baskets of wooden and metal objects and material. Others like to do themed baskets.
Here are some themed examples:
Kitchen: pastry brush(a big hit here!), wooden spoons, ladels, whisks(another fav around here!), dish cloth, little jars filled with dried lentils, raisins etc…….interesting to look at and make a noise……bonus!
Nature: leaves, pinecones, seashells, grass, stones(obviously not small enough to be swallowed) etc
Metal: old tins with lids, metal spoons, teapot, metal cup, bunch of old keys, spoons, whisks again, little metal bowls
Food: an orange, a carrot, a banana, dried fruits, breadsticks
Material: silk, satin, wool, flannel etc
And basically the list of themed baskets is as limitless as your imagination, but there’s just a few ideas.
Here’s some photos of treasure baskets we’ve had here:
Has anyone else got any good ideas for a treasure basket? Plese do share.