Tell Me About...Treasure Baskets


Treasure Baskets

What is a treasure basket?

They are a collection of day to day materials that are natural and offer stimulation to the 5 senses. They are gathered together in a medium, low, rigid sided round basket approx. 4-5 inches high. Baskets should be filled to the brim to encourage babies to search and discover. Items should provide a range of textures, weights, tastes, smells and appearances such as wooden items, metal fur, leather, large shells etc.

Pioneered by Elinor Goldschmied , the idea of a ‘treasure basket’ is for babies aged between 6-9 months or those babies able to sit up by themselves yet unable to crawl.

Why are treasure baskets important?

  • Aids exploration, curiosity and concentration
  • Based on the principle that the ‘tongue it the most sensitive part of the body made up of millions of nerve endings which supports a babies learning’
  • Enables brain development as increased neuron connections made during interaction with the treasures.

How do you use a treasure basket?

  • Find a quiet area away from other distractions
  • Seat baby comfortably in front of the basket
  • Sit close by but not too close that you become directly involved.
  • Allow the baby to explore, handle and manipulate the items in their own way.
  • Only become directly involved if invited by the child (watch and respond)
  • Clean the items and store basket away safely, changing items regularly to maintain interest


The adult should feel confident and happy with the contents. If in doubt take it out!

Top Tip

Over time build up a collection of safe real life items to be used for heuristic play baskets. Offering your child a selection of items in a basket, rather than sharing lots of items, stops the child feeling overwhelmed. Mixing the items up over time can add variety. Sitting with your child while they explore means you are able to add words for the items they are discovering.
Information about eye contact with a child.
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Age Groups

Find more games, resources, tips and links for your child's age group here.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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