Treasure Baskets are not a new phenomenon! They have been used by childcare professionals for an awfully long time and I know many parents use them at home with their children. The beauty of a treasure basket is that they can cost as little or as much as you can afford. It is also not essential for it to be a ‘basket!’ You can use a box, bag anything appealing and easily accessible for the intended child to play with. They will provide hours (not all in a row) of stimulation and enjoyment for babies as young as three months old. My favourite aspect of a treasure basket is that pretty much ‘anything goes’ and every child will play with them in different ways. Present three children with the same treasure basket and they will all interpret the activity in their own way. You could provide a 4 month old and a 3 year old with the same basket and they will have their own fun with it! To prove my point, I did just that!! 🙂
This basket is full of colourful socks; some long, short, stripy, patterned and plain! I’m sure you have plenty of odd socks lying around your home and failing that, the pound shop do packs of three for, well… a pound!
To add some interest to the socks, I tied knots in some, filled some with balls (tying a knot at the top to keep the balls inside), others I rolled into a ball and I filled some with crunchy foil for a lovely sound.
I presented G with the basket and her eyes lit up! She’s not sitting up completely independently yet, but propped up with a few cushions, she got stuck in to the basket!
To begin with, she couldn’t get enough of the long, stripy sock! She pulled, flicked and sucked on it! She thought it was mesmerising!
G spent a good while playing with her sock treasure basket and very much enjoyed attacking the one filled with crunchy foil!! So G did with the basket of socks, pretty much what you would expect a 4 and half month old baby to do with it!! I can’t wait to present her with the same basket as she gets older and see how her play and discovery has evolved!
It then became clear what J was going to do with them!!
I am a genuine believer that you can present children with a play activity and they will naturally access it at their own level, rehearsing and practising things they need to!! J is definitely ready to dress and undress himself but he struggles with putting his shoes and socks on!! I hadn’t thought before that this is what J would do with the basket, but he did and he thought wearing odd socks was hysterical!!
He then challenged himself by trying to put the REALLY long sock on!! Children are just amazing aren’t they?! He also had a go at launching the rolled up socks around the room and throwing them into the basket and shouting ‘GOAL’ at the top of his voice!! The fantastic thing about treasure baskets is that I know next time J plays with it, he will do something completely different! There is no end to this activity as it is completely open ended! Can’t wait to see what he does next!
What did J and G learn?
- Using senses to discover a new material (G)
- Developing control over body to grab hold of materials they want (G)
- Developing hand/eye coordination (G)
- Rehearsing dressing himself (J)
- Making observations about resources he is looking at and making decisions about how to use them. (J)
- Developing motor skills to pull socks up and down. (J)