What are the best toys for babies? Do babies need toys? Here’s how to make treasure baskets for babies filled with interesting items from around the home to provide your baby with lots of shapes, textures and sizes to explore.
Treasure baskets for babies
Sometimes referred to as heuristic toys or un-toys, everyday items are free, readily available and provide your baby with an ever changing assortment of ‘toys’ to enjoy. Their environmental impact is little, as they’re things you already have at home, and they provide a rich sensory experience for your baby to discover.
To make you own treasure basket, take a box or basket which is large enough to hold a few items but shallow enough for your baby to be able to reach inside and chose which objects they’d like to look at.
Gather some items from around the home to fill the basket. As with any kind of play, safety comes first so make sure you’re happy for your baby to handle all the items you choose. You should always sit alongside your baby as they play so you’ll be able to supervise all their exploring, so find a balance between things which are safe and also interesting. You know your baby best so use your discretion in picking items which you know they will enjoy.
Try to include lots of different textures in the items you put in the treasure basket. Some things you might like to include:
Metal: measuring spoons, colander, whisk, large keys, jar lids, tea strainer, sauce pan, bells tied on a string
Natural materials: wooden spoons, bowls and blocks, sponges, large shells, fir cones, twig spheres, woolen pompoms, large pebbles, whole fruits and vegetables
Fabric: scarves and pieces of material including knitted items, cotton, silk, velvet, leather, chiffon, terry, fur
Sit alongside your baby and let them explore. Observe as they pass items from one hand to another, turn them over, put one inside another. You can chat as you look at the items but the key idea here is to let your baby explore the items their way, rather than you having to ‘teach’ them about the objects.
Does your baby enjoy playing with a treasure basket. What other items do you include?
More SUPER baby play ideas
Our SUPERbaby play series focuses on simple, playful ideas you can use with the youngest of children to have fun and encourage them to develop important early learning skills. The emphasis is on ideas you can easily fit into a busy week, using materials you’ll have around your home. View all our SUPERbaby ideas here.
Play ideas for kids of all ages with NurtureStore’s Play planner
Our weekly Play Planner is packed full of creative play ideas for kids of all ages. If you’d like to have a copy of the weekly play planner delivered straight to your e-mail in box, just pop your e-mail address in the box below. The planner will arrive on a Sunday, ready and waiting with a week’s worth of play ideas for the week ahead.