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Childcare and Baby Activity, Treasure Baskets

June 28, 2019

Treasure Baskets

A treasure trove of sensory experiences for your babies

The pioneer of the treasure basket, Elinor Goldschmied, once said that we can never truly know what it is like to bite into a juicy ripe peach, or what concepts such as cool, smooth, prickly and rough actually mean, until we have experienced them for ourselves.

“Every baby should have a Treasure Basket”  Frankie Gray, Norland Nanny and Founder of Harmony at Home

Giving a seated baby a range of natural, household and recycled objects in a basket and allowing them to explore the items using all of their senses, is a great way to stimulate a baby’s brain, keeping them interested and engaged in the world around them.

Left to play in this way, children will begin to develop preferences, make choices and build their attention, concentration and decision-making skills.

Creating a treasure basket

Make sure the basket you choose is strong and sturdy and made of natural material such as wicker or willow. It should have a flat bottom and be strong enough not to tip over if the baby leans on it. Bear in mind that handles might get in the baby’s way when they are reaching for objects, so a basket without handles may be best.

A round basket that is approximately 30cm in diameter and 12cm high would be ideal.

In terms of the contents, evidence suggests that children respond more intensely to natural materials and more muted colours, so make sure the items in the basket reflect this. It should contain no plastic items and the contents should not be toys, but a variety of common everyday objects, mixed with natural objects you may find when exploring outside.

It is obviously essential that you assess each of the items in terms of safety. If there is any concern about the hygiene or safety of an object, it is better to omit it from the basket.

Items to include in a treasure basket:

  • Natural objects – fir cones, large pebbles, shells, dried gourds, large chestnuts, big feathers, pumice stone, large corks, avocado pear stones, large walnuts, loofah, natural sponge, citrus fruits
  • Objects made of natural materials – wooden spoons, little baskets, wooden nail brush, wooden curtain rings, shaving brush, wooden balls, wooden clothes pegs
  • Wooden objects – small boxes, castanets, bobbins, cotton reels, napkin rings, egg cup, small bowl, beads on a string
  • Metal objects – spoons of various sizes, small egg whisk, bunch of keys, small tins, lemon squeezer, small funnel, brass curtain rings, bunch of bells, metal egg cup, tea strainer, lids from jars, metal beaker, lengths of chain, bicycle bell, tea infuser, costume jewellery
  • Leather, textile and rubber objects – rubber puppy toys, leather purse, small leather bag, coloured marble eggs, velvet powder puff, length of rubber tubing, tennis ball, golf ball, leather spectacle case, rubber bath plug with a chain, bean bag, small cloth bags containing lavender, thyme, rosemary, cloves
  • Paper and cardboard objects – small cardboard boxes, little notebook, greaseproof paper, tin foil, insides of kitchen paper towel

Don’t forget that this is your baby’s time to freely explore. Keep yourself available and attentive, yet relatively unobtrusive, so the baby is motivated to investigate the objects for themselves.

Where to find objects for the treasure basket

Some items for your treasure basket can be found when out and about with your baby. Visit local parks and woodland where you can find a variety of natural items all free of charge. Some good places to visit are;

Priory Country Park

Barkers Lane

Bedford

MK41 9DJ

 

Rushmere Country Park

Linslade Road

Heath and Reach

Leighton Buzzard

LU7 0EB

 

Harrold-Odell Country Park

Carlton Road

Harrold

Bedford

MK43 7DS

 

Homeware stores such as The Range, and Dunelm are usually good places to find household items that can be included in your treasure basket. They have the following stores in Bedfordshire:

 

The Range

Units 4 and 5

Interchange Retail Park

Bedford

Bedfordshire

MK42 7AZ

 

The Range

Madford Retail Park

Dunstable Road

Luton

Bedfordshire

LU4 8DN

 

Dunelm

Unit 2

Alban Retail Park

4 London Road

MK42 0NW

 

Dunelm

Luton Road

Dunstable

Bedfordshire

LU5 4JN

 

Charity shops can be a good place to find some other, more unusual items for your treasure basket. A number of charity shops can be found across the county including the ones listed here:

Bedford

Sue Ryder

35-37 Ampthill Road

Bedford

Bedfordshire

MK42 9JP

 

Cancer Research

Bedford 70a

High Street

Bedfordshire

MK40 1NN

 

Keech Hospice Care

24 Allhallows

Bedford

Bedfordshire

MK40 1LJ

 

Sandy

Magpas Air Ambulance

Shannon Court

9 High St

Sandy

SG19 1AG

 

Wood Green

The Animals Charity

Shannon Court

1 High Street

Sandy

SG19 1AG

 

Barnardo’s

30 Market Square

Sandy

SG19 1JA

 

Luton

British Heart Foundation

70 George Street

Luton

LU1 2DL

 

Age Concern

32 George Street

Luton

LU1 2AZ

 

Keech Hospice Care

58 Birdsfoot Lane

Luton

LU3 2DQ

 

Dunstable

Age UK

1-3 Queensway

Dunstable

LU5 4ET

 

Keech Hospice Care

9 Ashton Square

Dunstable

LU6 3SN

 

YMCA Shop

9-11 Nicholas Way

Dunstable

LU6 1TD

 

Written by Sally Whitear – Harmony at Home Nanny Agency Bedfordshire for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2019

Posted by Frankie Gray, Director and Founder | Filed Under Activities for Children, Arts and Crafts, Expert Advice