Treasure Baskets a super easy sensory play resource to make at home-Generations Photography

Updated: Jan 9

So after starting my first blog post over a year ago, its time to take the plunge and get into this regular blogging thing!

Before starting my baby, child and family photography business, I worked in the early years and childcare sector in Norfolk for over 10 years. Here I gained a wealth of childcare experience and knowledge, so I am going to use my Blog to share some of this for the benefit of supporting your own babies and children.

Blog 1-Using a Treasure Basket to keep those Sitter’s entertained

Here is gorgeous Harley during his Sitter Photoshoot at Generations Photography. He loved the Treasure Basket so much that he didn’t want to concentrate on anything else, including having his photo taken!

A Sitter Photoshoot is the perfect way to capture the important milestone of your baby being able to sit independently. Part of my Sitter Photoshoot is to provide your baby with natural materials to capture their attention and stimulate their curiosity.

Sitter Photoshoots are held at my family friendly studio close to Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

What is a Treasure Basket?

The treasure basket is a natural play resource aimed at promoting exploration and discovery for your baby using all their senses. The perfect time to give your baby a treasure basket is when they are sitting upright supported, it is a low cost sensory play resource that you can easily make at home.

The concept was first devised by Elinor Goldschmied in the 1980s who was an early childhood pioneer. During her observations within nurseries she noticed babies were choosing to play with everyday resources, rather than the plastic toys. You may have even noticed this with your own children, who are often more interested in exploring items from the adult world. So Goldschmied decided to gather a range of objects made from natural materials and displayed them in a basket, to see how the babies responded, thus the Treasure Basket concept was born. She noticed that the babies got a rich learning experience from this, as the objects provided were open ended and kept the babies engaged for long periods of time, something which was missing in their play with plastic toys.

How will a Treasure Basket help my baby’s development?

It helps to support their physical development as exploring different objects helps to build and strength muscles in your baby’s hands. Along with also promoting their hand-eye co-ordination.

It supports cognitive skills as your baby will be concentrating and learning the properties of different objects e.g. size/shape/texture. It also encourages independence and confidence in your baby by exploring new objects in different ways.

What can I put in a Treasure Basket?

Put simply anything other than plastic!

Ideally your basket will be willow, wicker, straw or some other natural woven material.

The perfect contents are objects, which will capture your baby’s interest and curiosity, along with promoting sensory play. Fill the basket to the top, so that you baby will be eager to look inside. The good news is that you probably already have a selection of suitable items in your home, so get raiding those cupboards and drawers to see what you have.

Objects can be wooden, metal, natural or textiles.

Here are a few examples:

  • Spoons of various sizes both wooden/metal

  • Egg cup wooden/metal

  • Whisk

  • Lemon squeezer

  • Tea strainer

  • Napkin ring

  • Curtain ring

  • Fabric off cuts

  • Different brushes (nail brush/paint brush, pastry brush)

  • Tins

  • Dishes and bowls

  • Pebble

  • Coasters

  • Pine cone

  • Big feathers

Is a Treasure Basket Safe?

The important thing to remember here is that your seated baby is exploring objects, which are not toys, so your supervision will ensure their safety. I recommend regularly checking the contents of your treasure basket after use, to ensure there is no damage, splinters or sharp edges on any of the objects. Make sure anything you put in the basket is not capable of being swallowed by your baby. My motto here is if in doubt, leave it out.

Lastly the fun part…cleaning! Make sure you clean the contents regularly as your baby will enjoy mouthing the different items to see which tastes the best. Antibacterial spray is always a good bet here. Anything material can go in the washing machine.

What’s the Parent’s role with the Treasure Basket?

Sit close enough to your baby so you can supervise their play with the basket and step in if needed. However the aim is to allow your baby to explore for themselves, but if they invite you into their play then join in. If your baby is shy at the outset, it can be helpful to demonstrate a few items in the basket to the baby to help reassurance them it is safe to explore. Make sure you allow at least 45 mins to an 1 hour for the activity. As it can take your baby time to warm up and get comfortable with the activity.

Now its time for the fun part to get on with making your own

Written by G.Hampton 11.03.2020