Treasure baskets – our revolutionary discovery for baby play

treasure basket

We have recently discovered treasure baskets in our house and they really have been quite revolutionary for play. I am full of play ideas for my eldest daughter Lily, who is two, I create toys from cardboard and love thinking up fun games we can play with things we have around our home.

But for my youngest daughter Willow, who is almost one, I am often stumped. Of course when Lily was her age, we weren’t living through a global pandemic, and free to be outside and see our friends, which we spent all our time doing. The first few months of  Lily’s life were mostly back – to back meet ups and baby classes (purely for my benefit- I am the first of my group of girlfriends to have children and therefore was eager to meet mums who had newborns too). If we were at home, then ‘baby play’ meant cuddling in bed, feeding, reading stories and just generally being together.

So whilst with Willow, the latter is very true, I have loved finding a new idea for her in the treasure baskets. Perfect for our time at home, requiring very little, the treasure baskets offer that wide sensory experience that she’s not able to get from a baby class or outdoor meet up right now.

What are treasure baskets?

As I say, my first introduction to the treasure basket was very recent. It was through the lovely Emma who I connected with on Instagram and the mother behind Grasp and Gather.

Grasp and Gather sells unique, natural, utterly gorgeous toys and the treasure baskets as well.

I was in an Instagram rabbit hole and through it stumbled upon Emma’s complete guide to Treasure baskets, which I had never seen before, despite talking to her most days since our first exchange!

As Emma describes, ‘a treasure basket is a low-sided basket filled with a variety of natural and everyday household items.’  This appeals to me hugely as I love using, and encouraging my children to use, what naturally surrounds us (be it at home or out in nature).

*Safety: as household items are not designed as toys, adult supervision is required at all times. 

‘Treasure baskets are primarily designed for babies who are sitting independently and grasping objects (typically around 6-10 months) up until approximately 18 months of age.’

What to put in your treasure baskets:

Emma kindly gifted us a basket for Willow- she has a wide range of beautiful  products for the baskets, that you can browse through here.

But there are so many options you can collect for them from around your home or on your walks.  Emma suggests:

  • Wooden eggs cup
  • Pegs
  • Wooden spoons
  • Shells
  • Scoops
  • Blocks
  • Napkin rings
  • Brushes

Willow and I have also tried:

  • Sponge
  • Whole lemon
  • Empty butter container
  • Metal teaaspoons
  • Paintbrush

How to use treasure baskets:

Willow loves and is so engaged when she is exploring her treasure basket. It’s been wonderful for me as well, to be able to set up an activity for my youngest baby. And Lily has been able to help with the collecting of items beforehand. Willow will sit and happily explore the contents of her basket for ages. Emma advises though, not to leave the basket out all day. The idea is that it feels new when you get it out for them. Emma suggests dissuading older siblings from taking from the basket whilst your baby is playing. And so I set my Lily up with ‘a quiet basket’. This is one of the many genius offerings from Laura Brand’s ‘The Joy Journal, for Magical Everyday Play’ which we also love in our house for inspiration.

treasure basket

If you are looking for a fresh ideas for your babies, I really do recommend making your own treasure baskets. Perhaps you have discovered and are loving them already? I’d love to know.

I also urge you to read Emma’s wonderful and concise guide to treasure baskets. The guide is full of information, including their benefits, and tips to get started. I’d love to hear how you get on.

Sydney x

P.S I’ve just re-read this post of Esther’s about Bram’s favourite toys as a baby – another sweet idea for tiny ones.


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