DIY fun your baby will enjoy more than toys!
A treasure basket is a great resource for a baby, you can use one as soon as your baby can sit up (supported with cushions) and it will last until they are crawling.
- What is a treasure basket?
- How do I use the basket?
- What will my baby do?
- So what should I put in the basket?
A treasure basket is any basket or other sturdy container with sides low enough that a baby can reach in. It does not contain toys but is filled with objects which stimulate all the baby’s senses. The objects should not have any kind of theme, variety is key.
Simply sit your baby next to the basket, so that he can easily reach inside. If he is not yet sitting securely you will need to support him but otherwise back away a little and just watch. You don’t need to show your baby the objects, name them or talk about the textures or colours, just let him explore at his own pace without distractions. He may look to you for reassurance occasionally but will probably stay engrossed for a long time – perhaps 20 or 30 minutes.
Some babies tear through the basket, taking out every object and scattering them all around before putting them back in or choosing one to look at. Others spend ages examining just one item. Over time many babies develop a favourite object. As your baby explores she may put things in her mouth, wave them around, or bang them against the floor. Let her do whatever she wants to do, provided she is safe.
Firstly, no toys and no plastic. Both of those are a large part of your baby’s world already and the aim of the basket is to provide variety. Bear safety in mind, keep any ribbons or chains short and avoid very small items. A baby will not poke or stab though, and isn’t running around so things like wooden spoons are perfectly safe. Make sure that everything you use is clean and free of sharp edges. The following are just a few of the items you could use, kitchen shops and pound shops are great places to look for inspiration. Try to include items that are heavy, light, hard, soft, cold, warm, rough, smooth, large, small and which have different tastes and smells. When you start looking you will find hundreds of things out there, and the look on your baby’s face will make it well worth the effort!
- Silk hankie
- Knitted dish cloth
- Felt square
- Short length of ribbon with large wooden buttons securely sewn to it
- Silk ribbon
- Velvet ribbon
- Metal chain – large and small links
- Metal bell
- Sea shell
- Pine cone
- Wicker ball
- Metal or wooden whisk
- String dish mop
- Natural sponge
- Lemon juicer
- Metal toast rack
- Wooden pan rest
- Lemon, lime or orange (change or remove after a day or two)
- Wooden spoons, spaghetti servers
- Metal or ceramic egg cup
- Very large nuts and bolts (must be very large, check for sharp edges inside)
Photography: Johnathan Nightingale @Flickr