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Treasure baskets for babies



Suitable for children: 
Skills this activity improves: 
basket of shells

Treasure baskets are wonderful ways for babies or children to explore sensory materials. Just put some items in a basket and let your little one explore them. Stay close by but let them choose which item they want to explore and for how long. You can talk about what they are doing with each one.

How does the wool feel? Is it soft on your face? What else can you find in the basket?

Materials you will need

  • A basket
  • Treasures
  • Textured items
  • Fabric
  • Shiny items

Why does this matter?

Babies learn about their world by exploring it. They will be learning about size, shape and texture. As you talk to them they will be learning that words have meaning attached to objects.

They will also be developing eye-hand coordination.

What does this lead to?

The more hands-on experiences children and babies have, the more they will understand the world around them. They will build material understandings of objects and their properties and build their understanding of language. Rich vocabularies support both receptive and expressive language, as well as reading later on.

Eye-hand coordination helps children to develop their drawing and writing skills.

Language to use

  • Shiny, dull, sparkly
  • Soft, hard, furry, smooth, slippery, bumpy
  • Round, long, flat

Questions to use

  • Look what I have here.
  • What can you see in the basket? It’s a shiny spoon.
  • Look at the round ring.

Useful tips

  1. For safety information see Safety for children 0-4 years or visit www.parenting.sa.gov.au
  2. Make sure the treasures are clean as babies like to put everything in their mouth. This is because they have more nerve-endings in their mouth than anywhere else at this young age. Putting things in their mouth is a baby’s first way of learning about something.
  3. Remember it is important to talk to your child in your home language.

Variation by age

Birth to two year olds

  • You can change the contents of the basket from time to time. You could theme the basket by having all shiny objects, all wooden objects, all different fabrics and so on.

Language to use

  • You have found a brush. It is soft when you touch it.
  • Listen to the sound the cellophane makes when you pick it up. It is crackly!
  • That is a smooth spoon - is it cold?