Heuristic play: here's what's in my infant-friendly treasure basket #How-To & DIY#babies#diy August 9 | Guest post by SaraBeth Molly and Jack's treasure basket. Photo by Sarabeth. Last week I was catching up on my blog reading and I caught a great question and answer session on Offbeat Mama about low-key things to do with an infant who can't leave the house. One of the reader's answers about creating a treasure basket was amazing! Basically the basket allows children to explore heuristic play (exploring their world via play with objects). For my kids this would be shoving said objects in their mouths, crushing them or smashing them. All the same, it's comforting to know that the sword swallowing and Incredible Hulk routines are a normal part of development. Take a minute and think about the toys that we provide for our infants, they are mostly plastic and feel/taste the same. Boring! The Treasure basket allows you to create a base basket full of 20-30 multi-textured, multifaceted, objects for your baby to explore daily for about half an hour to an hour. Eventually the basket can contain up to 60-80 objects as you slowly build more items to keep the baby interested. Obviously you'll need to carefully supervise to avoid choking or in my case using the object to bludgeon a sibling. As alway with infants: EVERYTHING SHOULD BE DONE UNDER ADULT SUPERVISION, and the basket should be checked regularly for wear and tear and choking hazards. Here's what I put in Molly & Jack's Treasure Basket so far: 3 wooden spoons of various sizes leather cuff bracelet rubber dish gloves square of astroturf purple rubber textured dog bone fake fur miniature notebook cloth pencil case metal measuring spoons microfibre mop top miniature dust pan and broom dish scrubbing brush felt shoe insole foam duck shaped cut outs cork rounded hot pot stand metal whisk 5 inch cloth fastener with velcro tie blue hard cardboard jewelry box toothbrush pastry brush wooden ladybug shaped circular massager What I'm still looking for: large pine cone (which I will wash with warm water and soap as per my germaphobic husband's instructions) unused feather duster sponges (I bought these and then realized that they were pre-treated for my car's benefit/ making them poisonous for Molly & Jack and unusable) chamois (I also bought one of these, unaware until I got home that it had been pre-treated with wax, also unusable) chalk brush wooden bristled hair brush large square of silk material suggestions! Here's what I'm not putting in and why: Seashells (Seashells smash, shards everywhere) Rocks (I couldn't figure what would be the appropriate sized rock — I needed something small enough that it couldn't be a weapon and large enough that it couldn't be swallowed or choked on). For more information on creating a treasure basket here's the link that was provided that I used as a starting point/guideline. My beginner basket cost me about $25 thanks to the dollar store and a little creativity around the house. Join our community! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by SaraBeth Sarabeth is a Toronto mom and blogger who explores the darkly comic side of parenthood as she raises and writes about her life with her fraternal infant twins Molly & Jack (aka - the minions). http://multiplemomstrosity.blogspot.ca/ PREVIOUS Cutest fridge evar? Kawaii fridge monster stickers NEXT Reframing destruction: how I kept my cool after my son destroyed the garden Show/Hide comments [ 15 ] My 2 year old still loves "treasure baskets"! This was definitely a favorite when he was a an infant. 2 agree Reply What about colorful silk scarves? 3 agree Reply Silk bandanas instead of long scarves if it was my daughter I was trying to make a basket for. She has this thing with wrapping longer fabrics around her neck and it makes me feel uneasy. She also enjoys wearing colorful washcloths on her head and chewing on them if they're tied in a knot (don't ask me, she's the one who came up with it). 3 agree Reply This is great. I remember reading in one of the "Dad" books that even though everyday items seem mundane to you your baby has never seen them before. Here baby play with this coaster! 5 agree Reply I love this and I'm going to do it!! The description on the site you linked to is interesting… I was all set to say I already do this, since we have a toy basket, but this is very different and beautiful. I think my 9.5 month old daughter will love this! Reply My little one loves scrunchy things. For his treasure basket I cut up squares of a foil emergency blanket. Also good for them to lay on too, making noise as they move their arms and legs! 1 agrees Reply This treasure basket sounds like the catch all drawer in my kitchen. NEW USES FTW! 2 agree Reply We found that huge (read, larger than their fist) river rocks work well. They are hard and smooth and cold, and my son has never swallowed one. Use with supervision, of course. I'm also a big fan of small, child proof containers (like pharmacy bottles or baby food jars) with rice or whatever in them to make noises. 4 agree Reply Totally agree with the home-made shakers. Also cool if you can fill something like an old spice jar with things that smell strongly but won't make a mess (lavender, rosemary, whole coffee beans, cinnamon sticks, dried orange peal, paper soaked in vanilla extract). Like the shakers, you can seal the tops with nontoxic glue so the scent just drifts out through holes in the lids. 3 agree Reply Avocado pits might work too. 1 agrees Reply My baby loves Ramen packets. They crinkle, and (once they're banged up a bit) they shake. He played with the same two for about two or three months before they finally burst. I just swept it up and handed it him a new one. And no great tragedy if he did manage to eat some of the filling because its food (kinda :-P) 3 agree Reply Love this idea. I do something similar, but instead of one basket with 60-80 items, I like to make several smaller ones with 15-20 items each. Then I can switch up which basket I offer and keep things more interesting and less overwhelming. 4 agree Reply This might be common, but our daycare has clear bottles filled with interesting objects (seashells, pasta, fruit loops, mulch, etc) for the babies to observe, shake, roll, gum, etc. Reply A lava rock would be nice. It is light so it can be big. Jar tops are nice to my girl loves to make them PoP. Reply Great basket! I like to find ideas for my 10 month-old. 🙂 This reminds me of the very cool little basket the writer of Joyful Abode made. I like the Montessori ideology of keeping things simple for baby (I said I like the idea-my house is filled to the brim with gifted plastic toys lol). This basket is low-key and not overstimulating. Very neat. http://www.joyfulabode.com/2011/04/20/annelieses-first-easter-basket/ 1 agrees Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Participate in this conversation via emailGet only replies to your comment, the best of the rest, as well as a daily recap of all comments on this post. No more than a few emails daily, which you can reply to/unsubscribe from directly from your inbox. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.