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Treasure baskets/heuristic play

(24 Posts)
Swaliswan Mon 14-Sep-09 09:07:25

I know what goes into a treasure basket but what happens at a treasure basket group? Does everyone just sit around with their babies delving into treasure baskets together or is it a bit more guided than that? Also, how old is too old for a treasure basket?


Littlefish Mon 14-Sep-09 21:18:27

You need Frannyandzooey - she used to be a regular poster, but is less prolific now. I know that in the past, she has run heuristic play groups. Do a search and see she has posted recently.

cookielove Mon 14-Sep-09 21:24:57

ok i have never heard of a treasure basket group, but i work in a nursery and although the treasure basket is mainly used in the under 2's the 2-3's really enjoy it as do the 3-5's so i really think it spans across the ages

Swaliswan Mon 14-Sep-09 21:55:46

I was hoping that Frannyandzooey would come along, Littlefish.

I introduced DD1 to the beginnings of our treasure basket today. She loved helping me choose bits and pieces to go into it. It was so lovely seeing our 2yo and 4mo enjoying the same 'treasures' in completely different ways.

Littlefish Tue 15-Sep-09 10:32:16

Did you try searching for her?

MamaG Tue 15-Sep-09 10:33:44

you'll find her on a 10/10thread in health

Swaliswan Tue 15-Sep-09 10:37:30

Oooooooo, thank-you!

<trots off to hijack the 10/10 thread>

Swaliswan Tue 15-Sep-09 10:49:46

Oh, BTW, I'm not ignoring your suggestion, Littlefish. I'm just a bit dleep deprived from having two poorly little girls to look after.

Swaliswan Tue 15-Sep-09 10:50:28


See, I told you I was sleep deprived!

FrannyandZooey Wed 16-Sep-09 17:54:11

the bat phone bark phone rang

ooh i DO like questions about treasure baskets
of course anything you like could happen at a treasure basket groups but i know of 3 sorts -

1) you could just have treasure baskets and let the babies play

2) at my one we start and finish with musical games / parachute play etc

3) i heard of one where the babies played while the parents took part in a kind of support group / parenting skills course, facilitated by the organiser of the session

In all cases the treasure basket play should be unstructured and free, in my opinion. the parents need to supervise but shouldn't really be 'doing' anything other than sitting nearby and watching benignly, so a good time to chat and have a cup of tea.

as for how old is too old - Elinor G the grandmother of treasure baskets, developed the idea for seated but not yet crawling babies, so from about 6 months to 9 months, something like that. this age is actually the safest for playing with the objects as babies of that age can not usually throw or poke, and they aren't standing so they don't drop stuff on their toes, etc.

however IME older babies and indeed much older children still enjoy the baskets. i started bringing one to my class for older children, to entertain their younger siblings while the class was on, however ALL the children like playing with it and their treasure basket play gets more sophisticated as they grow older. so i don't think there is an upper age limit. the parents seem to like them as well. they should be full of nice interesting sensory things - which appeals to anyone, of any age.

the only thing i would say is that during the classic toddler period, from about 1 year to say 2.5 years, what is called heuristic play with objects is a better and more age appropriate activity, especially for groups of children. with heuristic play with objects you have COLLECTIONS of things, eg a bag of wooden pegs, a collection of large tins, a bag of corks, rather than a variety of different things. 2 reasons for this - at this stage a child's play is about "what can i DO with this?" rather than the baby stage of "what is this object like?". so a selection of materials designed to be rolled, posted, stacked, sorted, emptied, filled, etc, is satisfying and challenging for them. secondly the children this age will have great difficulty sharing or taking turns, so ensuring large quantities of the same object ensures that they can play alongside other toddlers without so much conflict as with a treasure basket, where several children will want the same item.

hope this helps
i really do love talking about it so let me know if i can help further or if anything did not make sense


FrannyandZooey Wed 16-Sep-09 17:54:56

oh some kisses snuck in there by mistake blush
oh well have those for free :O

Prunerz Wed 16-Sep-09 17:55:53

Hello Franny wink

NoahDear Wed 16-Sep-09 17:56:09

sorry what are these baskets called?

colditz Wed 16-Sep-09 17:57:03

Wnaky baskets

brimfull Wed 16-Sep-09 17:57:20

god sounds odd to me

why do you need to have the baskets

can't you just get together for coffee and chat

FrannyandZooey Wed 16-Sep-09 18:55:09

treasure baskets are lovely - full of sensory experiences for the babies
they tend to amuse and absorb babies for far longer than conventional playthings (we all know the old chestnut about the baby playing with the box rather than the toy)
and so make a relaxing time for the parents as the children are calm and happy

hello prunerz! i like your z

noahdarling hello

hello colditz! i didn't know there were so many people left on MN that I liked wink

FrannyandZooey Wed 16-Sep-09 18:55:51

oh but yes very odd
don't try them
only weirdies do it [shudder]

NoahDear Wed 16-Sep-09 19:08:58

yes it IS nice inst it

where is old piey
maidamess, she also current fave of mine, squeave, cornysilk, noddoid

Littlefish Wed 16-Sep-09 19:17:45

Thanks for coming over Franny - I didn't want to stalk you, but hoped that the OP would find you. Lovely explanation btw.

Sorry there haven't been any more squares for your wnaky basket wink - am snowed under at the moment and not doing any knitting.

Noah - good to see you.

NoahDear Wed 16-Sep-09 19:18:29

and oyu fishoid.

seeker Wed 16-Sep-09 19:22:37

My dd was 6 when ds got his treasure basket - and she loved it too!

They are 8 and 13 now and we still have oddments from both their baskets around the place. Never could bring myself to call them wnaky baskets though - it made me giggle in a shamefully juvenile way.

Littlefish Wed 16-Sep-09 19:27:09

Don't worry Noah, - I wasn't offended at being left out of your initial love-fest, honestly wink.

NoahDear Wed 16-Sep-09 19:45:36

you fox.


pushkar Wed 16-Sep-09 19:58:48

we have a treasure basket which won the nasen awards last year highly inventive all naturual products also works well with special needs children as well as under 5's
we also have cards to give ideas to utilize the treasure basket
but you can count objects ,name them, put into colour cateories ,the list is endless
you will find them at

my son really likes them and we have had ours for sometime

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