The Value of Treasure Baskets
Treasure baskets are a concept developed on the idea of Elinor Goldschmeid’s observations of parents and their babies and toddlers and their curiosity to investigate their knowledge of the world around them through the usage of their five senses. She coined this type of play ‘heuristic play which means ‘to discover.
There are many benefits of using treasure baskets. They are an excellent resource to stimulate curiosity, concentration, and a sense of independence.
Furthermore, they promote younger children’s learning as it covers a wide of opportunities for learning and is a good exploratory resource for babies who are not independently mobile. It is also an easy and quick activity that parents can re-create at home.
Inclusion and Equality: They are particularly relevant for babies and young children who have a visual impairment, as they can offer a wide range of sensory experiences. It works because it is a simple, fun and effective way for children to promote their fine motor skills and cognitive development.
There are only two ‘rules’: The objects are chosen to appeal to the baby’s five senses and all the materials must be everyday natural materials, none of which are plastic. (Plastic are similar as they are all smooth, and has no smell or taste). Increasing the range of non-plastic materials increases the opportunities for the baby to explore and learn.
The basket should be only 4ins high so the child can easily reach inside. The materials should vary in their tactile qualities to appeal to all their senses.
The Treasure basket is a beneficial exploratory resource as the children use their senses to discover what an object is, what is like and what happens if shaken or manipulated. The role of the adult is to sit closely and quietly observe. This supports the children in making their own choices and discoveries.
What the child gains from a Treasure Basket: Babies and toddlers learn from exploration and experience. Treasure baskets give them the opportunity to explore items that would not have had the opportunity to handle. This activity gives the child to discover aspects of the materials. It also helps young children with a sight problems become confident in handling familiar objects, as it may a take while before these children move confidently in their environment and explore things for themselves.
Why we value the use of Treasure Basket at Willows
Our younger children, namely our Caterpillars and Fireflies benefit from the treasure baskets for different purposes such as:
- It develops the children’s needs, and preferences and helps staff plan next their steps.
- Promotes their PSED skills; which are central as the children are the ones making the choices which relate to one of the principles of the EYFS: encouraging children as independent learners.
- Gives children choices, which is important in their future development of language development.
- Develops their physical development skills, (moving and handling).
- Helps to communicate through facial expressions.