A treasure basket is a basket (or container of some sort) of items for infants and young toddlers to explore. They are filled with a variety of objects with the purpose to stimulate the curiosity of the young child that is interacting with them. Many Montessori programs use treasure baskets.
A treasure basket is a great independent play activity. Just set the basket in front of a young child and watch him or her take things out and investigate them! Here we provide some ideas for winter treasure baskets.
Winter Clothing Treasure Basket:
Add a collection of winter clothing made of different types of material (fur, denim, cotton, wool, leather, courdoruy, etc.):
“Snow” Treasure Basket:
Put in items that look like snow:
- Cotton Balls
- Rolled up white socks
- Shower pouf/loofah
- Pom poms
- Large foam snowflakes (can make your own or purchase)
Hot Chocolate Treasure Basket:
Think all things hot chocolate by adding these items to a basket:
- Plastic mugs
- Hot chocolate packets
- Coffee cups
- Measure cups
Nature Treasure Basket:
Bring the outside inside with…
- Evergreen branches
- Ice cubes in a Ziploc bag
Benefits of Treasure Baskets
(Source: Exploring the Montessori Treasure Basket)
Satisfactory sensory stimulation is linked to improved cognitive, physical, and emotional development.
Through the exploration of treasure baskets, babies get the chance to touch, taste, smell, see, and hear a variety of different sensations.
This type of sensory play not only stimulates a baby’s brain in important ways, but it primes them for a lifetime of loving to learn through hands-on exploration.
A treasure basket is a place where even the youngest babies get a chance to test out hypotheses and learn cause and effect.
Of course, there is plenty of fine motor practice in a treasure basket, as well.
Treasure baskets are a great way to support a baby during their stages of play, as well.
They are suitable for the unoccupied play stage that occurs in the newborn months and the independent play stage that occurs between birth and the age of 2.
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