Treasure Basket Play
Back in the 1940’s Elinor Goldschmied pioneered treasure basket play. A treasure basket is a low sided round basket containing mostly natural materials that a baby can explore. It is meant to be filled to the top of different objects so babies can dig in and pick things that interest them and explore the objects weight, size, texture, shape and smell.
Goldschmied advised that all the objects should be made from natural materials as it is thought that natural materials provide babies with more sensory feedback. Touch and taste are the key ways babies process information.
Treasure basket play is ideal for babies who can sit up on their own, if your baby is a still a little unsteady when sitting you could place a breastfeeding pillow around her incase she does fall back or to the side. Playing sitting up will help strengthen a babies muscles needed for sitting and their core strength that will be vital as they learn to stand and eventually walk.
A well put together treasure basket can keep a baby entertained much longer than most toys, teaching them high levels of concentration as well as stimulating their senses, developing hand-eye co-ordination and enabling them to explore the concepts of shape, size and texture.
An important part of Goldschmied’s thoughts on treasure baskets are that the baby is in charge. Parents or caregivers should not interfere in the play, they should be in the room to observe and react if the baby chooses to share what they have discovered but apart from that the baby should be left to their play. This type of play is thought to help develop confidence and concentration skills. Once your baby has finished playing, place the basket away until the next time.
Examples of objects to place in your own treasure basket:
-Wooden objects. Egg cup, nail brush, wooden spoon, honey dipper, pastry brush, dolly pegs, curtain rings, small wooden bowl, wooden toothbrush.
-Fabric objects. Bean bag, lavender bag, leather wallet, silk scarf, ribbon ring, piece of lace, knitted hat.
-Metal objects. Tea strainer, whisk, teaspoon, measuring spoons, tin, small colander.
-Other objects. Lemon, orange, grapefruit, small mirror, large smooth pebble, coconut shell, large shells, pine cones.