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Baby Water Sensory Play Activity

If you want to try this at home be more careful than me!

Dirtand boogers.com water play idea. Baby Water Sensory Play: baby-brain.co.uk, psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

Dirtandboogers.com water play idea

What am I talking about? Well I tried to emulate this Baby Water Play idea (piccie to your right ) from a site called “Dirt and Boogers” (written by a “play therapist turned stay at home mom”; see whole article here with some nice pictures of baby playing with the water tray. There is also a range of play ideas from baby to preschool age on the site). This looked like a great way to introduce the Little Lovely (LL) to some sensory play of a different nature as we have never used water during play other than bath time I suppose, but I haven’t introduced any bath toys yet. I didn’t read the instructions properly and I think this activity is for babies who are not sitting yet, or at least is to be done in a non-sitting position.
Anyway, I set up a baking tray with some toys including linky loops, a sippy cup top and rattle (basically things that would glide about on the water), added water and put a plastic sheet under the tray so as not to spill water everywhere, as demonstrated in the picture below.

Water Sensory Play idea with baby | Baby-Brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

I sat LL down in front of it (aged 6.5 months) and IMMEDIATELY… WOOSH… the first thing he did was grab the bottom of the tray and tipped it up. The water all spilled out right across the plastic and on to the rug. Oh well, it’s only water.
So this might have been a good sensory experience activity but maybe do as Dirt and Boogers and put baby on their tummy (baby in the original article is 6 months – so similar to LL). Although, I’m not sure if LL wouldn’t have tipped the tray up anyway even if he was on his front.
Maybe I’ll repeat this at some point and see what LL does next time. And maybe I’ll add some balls. I’ve found another water sensory play idea here from Learn with Play at Home (written by a teacher and mother of 2) and they suggest using a high chair tray, which actually might have been a better idea for LL so he couldn’t tip it up, or maybe I could find a heavier or larger water receptacle that he couldn’t tip over. Anyway, try it at home, add some interesting toys/objects to the water that baby can push around and experience the feel and sound of the water. Oh, and at least LL had fun playing with the metal tray, tipping it up and bashing on it with some of his other sensory play objects after his water emptying handiwork was done. He was able experiment with making some nice sounds with the tray – so we got some sensory play after all, just of a different nature to what was planned! Here’s some pictures of him having fun (below).
Safety first! As always, always supervise activities and be careful with with water around your baby. Never leave baby unattended.

 

woosh Water Sensory Play idea with baby | Baby-Brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

Woosh went the water! As he tipped up the tray

let's make stuff from baby-brain.co.uk - baby water sensory play idea - | Baby-Brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

Playing with the now emptied of water tray

 

See more stuff the Little Lovely and I made and did together: ⇒back to Let’s Make Stuff!

 

Thank you for reading: Baby Water Sensory Play: baby-brain.co.uk, psychology resource, perspective & blog

How to play with a newborn baby (0-3 months) – what and why – psychology and research


What, how and why to play with your newborn. Really interesting psychology behind newborn play and what's important
As I approach the 5th month with the new baby (already!) I was looking back and thinking of the ways that we “played”. There’s a lot of time in the day so how can you play with baby and what can you do all day long? Well, apart from nappy changes, sleeps, screams, baths and other practical “stuff”, here’s some ways we played together and some of the psychology/research behind activity ideas:

 

SOUND – COMMUNE

Talking:

Face to Face time is a GREAT way to play. This means simply being face to face with baby and having a chat. You can talk about anything; something that you did that day or just make certain sounds with some over the top mouth-moving to show how you’re making it, like B-B-B-B-B-B, OOoooo.

 

→ → → Talk in a funny voice!

Talking is important but it’s a case of Quality, not Quantity

Talking in “parentese” – that baby talk that we do, characterised by higher pitch, slowed down and exaggerated intonation (6) – might irritate some but apparently it has it’s benefits; slowing speech down and exaggerating sounds, also introducing that “sing song” element to the voice is something babies like. It works well with very young babies according to this article who report that prevalence of baby talk with children (in one to one conversations rather than in groups) was linked to better language development,

The more parents exaggerated vowels – for example “How are youuuuu?” – and raised the pitch of their voices, the more the 1-year olds babbled, which is a forerunner of word production.

 

When the babies were 2 years old, parents filled out a questionnaire measuring how many words their children knew. Infants who had heard more baby talk knew more words

Singing:

Again, communication is paramount so singing counts too. Apparently, from day one babies have an ability (innate) to discriminate rhythmic patterns. See this interesting article from Psychology Today for more but in sum, you can start in utero – around 25 weeks of pregnancy the baby starts to process auditory signals – which is why newborns may prefer their mother’s voice, because it is quite familiar to them!

 

Reading:

Reading from birth is a great thing to practice, and has benefits. See my reading page for more in-depth information on the psychology of reading with babies and small children. In brief, baby will recognise their mother’s voice from the womb (1) and hearing it from day one may be familiar and comforting to them, reassuring them of your presence (2).
When we read we usually read with different expression and voices than when we talk and books/reading materials contain different vocabularies, words, expressions than what we might use in every day talk around our children. This is useful because it exposes the child to more varied language and sounds.
Reading to babies from the early months has been found (3) to be related to increased reading with babies at 8 months old (creating a reading habit), which in turn, related to language abilities at 12 and 16 months, particularly with expressive language (being able to put thoughts into words and sentences).
Interaction when reading has also been highlighted as an important element in relation to language development (4) with older babies (12 months).

 

TOUCH

The importance of touch: how what and why to play with newborn 0-3 months

Touching feet

Touching hands, touching feet – we did a lot of this in month one, mainly because his little feet were so cute. The baby and I are due to take part in a research study soon at a Baby Lab about whether infants in the early months can distinguish between a social touch and other touch. This will involve monitoring activity and touching baby’s arm with a toothbrush and then touching by hand.
Skin to skin is recommended and touch is going to be important! Research has reported increased touch to facilitate growth and development (cited in 5). Research on benefits of touch with premature babies has also influenced procedures in some hospitals such as use of “kangaroo care” where the baby receives skin to skin contact being held upright against the bare chest of the carrier (5). There is a huge wealth of literature out there about importance of touch and skin to skin with babies and infants which I encourage you to read further if this is an area of interest to you.

 

Sensory play

We also did lots of sensory play such as touching soft toys, a range of textured material and letting him touch/kick his little feet on some crunchy sounding tissue paper.Sensory play idea for newborn and 0-3 months - kicking tissue paper. The psychology of newborn play

 

SIGHT

  • Mirroring, including mirroring noises and chatting, having a conversation

  • Face time

  • Tongue talk

  • Copy Cats

How, what and why play with your newborn: stick your tongue out at them! Baby-Brain.co.uk

Nurrr

We spent a lot of time sticking our tongues out at each other! Given baby’s limited communication channels, this was something he was able to do and I sat there and “Mirrored” him, i.e. copying what he was doing and sticking my tongue out in response to him. This then turned into a kind of “conversation” where we would take it it turns. I then threw a few more facial expressions in and tongue clicks which seemed to interest him. This early study (6) writes that babies between 12-21 days old are able to imitate facial gestures, so you can try it from the first few weeks! Also loving the pictures in that article of the baby imitating “mouth opening” and especially the “lip protrusion”.

 

High contrast:

High contrast black & white images with baby - what how why play with newborns and 0-3 months

In terms of visual aspects and development, the visual system is not yet fully developed at birth (a). Baby has difficulty distinguishing between similar colours such as orange and red and so prefer high contrast colours such as black against white. We used several “high contrast” images and resources such as a black and white book and flash cards.

 

 

Let’s Face It

Face time your baby! The importance of talking with newborns and psychology of interaction

Who’s there?

Babies love looking at faces; even in the days after birth a baby will prefer to look at images of a face compared to other images. YOU are their favourite play thing and baby will be very interested in staring at you whilst you sing/talk/coocheecoo at them.

YOU are your baby’s favourite play thing!

Mirroring and attachment:

Here’s a good video about “marked mirroring” with your baby. The page has described it nicely so I’ll just quote here:

Facial expressions that help a baby to know his feelings are understood are known as ‘mirroring’. Mirroring is said to be ‘marked’ when the parent mirrors the emotion then quickly ‘marks’ the interaction with a reassuring expression. Mirroring shows the baby that he is understood and reflects the feeling he is experiencing.

 

The’marking’ helps the baby know the feeling belongs to him and that the parent understands but is not overwhelmed and is therefore able to help him or her to manage such feelings.

(Warwick Medical School, 2014, http://www.your-baby.org.uk/early-interactions/marked-mirroring-showing-they-understand-their-babys-emotions).

 

Home activities: Tummy Time, Mirror Play, Play Gym

Mirror play with baby: What why and how to play with newborn and 0-3 months

Who’s looking at you, kid?

Tummy Time, play in the mirror and play gym were some fun and easy activities we tried at home. See links for more information on these activities. Play gyms for example have some great cognitive, visual perception, grasping and reaching skills, gross motor skills, self-awareness and sensory stimulation benefits as summarized in this nice article here by Mama OT. Personally, I could really see the baby developing in terms of gross motor skills, coordination and crossing his midline to reach out and grasp at toys.

 

Getting out and about

At first I remember it seeming very daunting and difficult on a practical level to get out of the house. Add two kids to the mix and there seemed like even more obstacles and things “to do” before we could get out the front door. However, there are many benefits and aspects for parent and child including social and mental health elements. Here’s a page about choosing activities and benefits of them for maternal mental health.

 

Lastly: Enjoy this time with baby!

Kicking tissue paper fun! Sensory activity with newborn baby and 0-3 months. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Wheee!

 

 

References:

  1. Decasper AJ, Fifer WP. Of human bonding: newborns prefer their mothers’ voice. Science. 1980;208:1174 –1176.
  2. Lariviere & Rennick (2011). Parent picture-book reading to infants in the neonatal intensive care unit as an intervention supporting parent-infant interaction and later book reading. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 32 (2),  pp 146-152.
  3. Karras, J. & Braungart-Rieker, J. (2005). Effects of shared parent-infant book reading on early language acquisition. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 133-148.
  4. Julie Gros-Louis, Meredith J. West, Andrew P. King. The Influence of Interactive Context on Prelinguistic Vocalizations and Maternal Responses. Language Learning and Development, 2016; DOI:10.1080/15475441.2015.1053563
  5. Ardiel, E. L., & Rankin, C. H. (2010). The importance of touch in development. Paediatr Child Health. 2010 Mar; 15(3): 153–156.
  6. Ramírez-Esparza, N., García-Sierra, A., & Kuhl, P. K. (2014). Look who’s talking: speech style and social context in language input to infants are linked to concurrent and future speech development. Developmental Science, 17 (6): 880–891

a) Brémond-Gignac D., Copin H., Lapillonne A., Milazzo S. (2011). Visual development in infants: physiological and pathological mechanismsCurr. Opin. Ophthalmol. 22, S1–S8.

 

Simple Bottle Shaker Sensory Activity for Babies & Toddlers

Simple Bottle Shaker!

We made this simple sensory DIY toy when my Little Lovely was about 8.5 months old, inspired by the home-made sensory bottles I often came across at baby classes:

 

DIY Simple Bottle Shaker Toy: a great sensory activity for baby! Baby-brain.co.uk

Simple Bottle Shaker Toy for Baby

This was a quick, simple and cheap way to provide baby with something novel and stimulating!

  1. Wash and dry a used drink bottle

  2. Fill with something that will make a noise when shaken – we used tapioca and dried lentils

  3. I fitted the lid back on tightly. You can’t see that well from the picture but the lid is quite big and so hopefully is not a swallowing risk.

 

age: LL was about 8.5 months when we did this but we have also used a bottle shaker when he was a bit younger and i’m sure it will amuse him in the future.

Here’s the Little Lovely enjoying his new toy. He enjoyed shaking and bashing it about, and was quite curious about it, as he usually is with new things!

 

DIY Simple Bottle Shaker Toy: a great sensory activity for baby! Baby-brain.co.uk

Bottle Shake Baby

 

 

A few safety issues: This activity was supervised. The lid is fitted on very tightly so LL will not be able to get it off, chew on it, spill or eat the contents of the bottle, please be careful and decide what, if any, fillings and bottles will be appropriate and safe for your child. Always supervise baby with any activities posted on this blog.

 

 

 

Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes – Crafty DIY Infant Entertainment

Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes – for babies and infants

 

sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

Toilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.uk

 

  • What was the idea originally supposed to be? – A baby play station (click on link for what the activity was originally meant to look like). I changed the idea slightly
  • Where did I get the idea/activity from? – This website called Kids Activities Blog 
  • Why did I make it? – I thought it would be a fun, creative thing to, and something that would entertain the Little Lovely and also allow tactile and visual stimulation

The original activity is to make a baby play station using toilet paper rolls, wrapping different fabric/materials around each roll, attaching rolls to a curtain rod and then watching them roll as baby plays/spins them around. I decided to attach them to some string and attach the string to the play gym for the Little Lovely to play with.

 

Here’s the steps I took to make it:

material/paper scraps: sensory activity with baby - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood
Step 1: I found some materials to use that were visually stimulating and/or tactile . I used old wallpaper scraps that were bumpy and had a nice texture, and some shiny material.

sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

Step 2: I carefully cut to size and glued the paper/material scraps onto toilet paper rolls, folding any excess fabric or paper into the inside of the roll.
sensory activity with baby - tactile/vsual entertainment tubes - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood  Step 3: Leave to dry
Step 4: I threaded the tactile and sensory rolls onto thick string but you could attach to a rod as in the original idea, or something safe for your infant to play with. I then attached mine to hang between two poles of the play gym. 

 

….and voilà! Here are some pictures of LL enjoying his new toy

 

Toilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.ukToilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.ukToilet Roll Fun - Tactile and Visual Entertainment Tubes - home made fun with baby. Ideas from www.baby-brain.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety first:

  • be careful of choking hazards when choosing materials and don’t chose things to wrap around the rolls that have little parts that could fall off or be pulled off easily.  I supervised play to ensure safety and the rolls were tied up so that LL could not get them down or his mouth around them easily
  • I am wary of using string with babies because of any risks they could get caught up it in. Therefore, always attach safely so that there is no string or materials free for infant to injure self on and only allow play in your presence and under adult supervision. Take the string down after use and put away safely. Do not copy random pages/blogs on the internet. I bought some child-friendly white craft glue for this activity, however all of the glue remains under the paper/material and so does not directly touch little hands or mouths.

Baby painting sensory activity, with one ingredient and step

Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

The other month we had some fun with a “painting” sensory activity. We were sitting there one afternoon and I realised that we had some old cardboard, large pieces of packing paper and some yoghurt in the fridge. So we made it into a fun game.

 

I’m calling it “paint” because we used the yoghurt like paint. It’s also safe and edible for baby (although, of course check ingredients and make your own decision as to whether the product is safe for your child). To replicate this you can use:
  • Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

    How we set up our yoghurt painting experience

    Yoghurt as the “paint”. If you want to make colours I suppose you could add natural colouring by mixing in crushed up fruits (e.g. raspberries, blueberries), or food colouring if you don’t mind baby tasting it.

    • A large piece of cardboard or something to protect the floor like a plastic sheet or old sheet. It also makes it easy to clean up because you can just wipe it off after

    • Paper to “paint” on. We used old packaging paper

 

 

 

The Little Lovely really enjoyed this. It was something novel for him. He liked smearing the yoghurt and feeling the sensation of it. He tried a little taste as well but looked like it was a bit sour for him! (natural yoghurt). Afterwards he was quite messy, but fortunately the overall had taken some of the yoghurt. Here’s some more pictures of what we did:

 

Yoghurt is presented to LL. He gets stuck in and has a feel. I needed to put a bit of paint on the paper and swish it about a bit to start him off and model what to do. Then, he was able to start “painting” by himself.

Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

 

What does the paint feel like? LL decided it was quite fun (middle picture), and continued to swish it about the paper. This became more of a sensory/fun/swishing game rather than a fine art project!

 

Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

We ran out of yoghurt so I got another load in a plastic container this time. LL wanted to taste it. Looks like it was a bit sour. He got progressively messier!

 

Baby painting with one step & ingredient. Safe and edible and sensory play fun! From baby-brain.co.uk

 

Safety first: be mindful of any allergies (e.g. to fruits, colours, yoghurts, cow’s milk, etc, and be mindful of baby’s age and if they can have cow’s milk should they decide to taste the yoghurt).

 

Toy tray play

toy tray play baby

We had some fun today putting some of the Little Lovely’s toys on a large tray lid and letting him explore them all and push them around of the tray. Toys included a variety of textures, shapes and sound making items, and objects to mouth. It seemed to entertain him for a while! It was probably a novel experience for him as his toys and items are not usually presented to him like this. They are either on the floor, in a box or part of a treasure basket.
Rotate and alternate the toys for something different each week or day.
baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective and blog on motherhood baby toy tray play

Having fun with toys presented on tray

 

Water Sensory Play Idea

If you want to try this at home be more careful than me!

See this page under Let’s Make Stuff for full details and pictures of the Little Lovely playing a new sensory game/experience!

What am I talking about? Well I tried to emulate a baby water play idea (see the original idea here) which looked like a great way to introduce the Little Lovely (LL) to some sensory play of a different nature as we have never used water during play other than at bath time. I didn’t read the instructions properly and I think this activity is for babies who are not sitting yet, or at least is to be done in a non-sitting position.

Anyway, I set up a baking tray with some toys including linky loops, a sippy cup top and rattle (basically things that would glide about on the water), added water and put a plastic sheet under the tray so as not to spill water everywhere.

I sat LL down in front of it and IMMEDIATELY… WOOSH… the first thing he did was grab the bottom of the tray and tipped it up. The water all spilled out right across the plastic and on to the rug. Oh well, it’s only water. I had a camera to hand because I was taking pictures to update the blog and the Let’s make stuff page, but instead of delightful sensory water play cutesy splashing etc from LL, I got one of him tipping up the tray and spilling water everywhere. Oh well, it was fun. I laughed. I don’t think he knew why

woosh

 

Thank you for reading: Baby Water Sensory Play: baby-brain.co.uk, psychology resource, perspective & blog

Treasure Baskets and Heuristic Play

Treasure Basket Ideas and Heuristic Play

 

How to develop Treasure Baskets, the meaning of the baskets and heuristic play!

 

 Treasure Basket Ideas and Heuristic Play

Why and how to make and use treasure baskets, heuristic play with baby/infants. Some of the history, psychological theory and background, how to use them and ideas for treasure basket contents.

What’s this treasure basket stuff about then?

 

See this page here for a quick guide and summary:  Treasure Baskets & Heuristic play: Quick guide, Themes and Content ideas

Treasure baskets and heuristic play for baby: quick guide and summary, plus treasure basket ideas, themes, content and how to present ideas. From baby-brain.co.uk

Treasure Basket ideas and themes

 

 

I’ve been assembling and documenting use of Treasure Baskets with my Little Lovely (LL).  These could also be referred to as treasure or heuristic bags or boxes. They aren’t all technically “Baskets”, but are a range of themes and groups of items presented in baskets, on trays, buckets, etc. They are not “pure” Treasure Baskets because they are not all presented in a basket, i’ve grouped them into themes rather than a wider and eclectic selection of items, and also, traditionally the baskets would contain items made from natural materials only such as wood, metal, cotton, and so on. I’ve included plastic items because I decided to just include items I had around the house that I thought might be interesting.

And now some of the background information on Treasure Baskets. I really enjoyed reading around the theory and history behind these:

Age range: Originally the aim was for ages 7-12 months (1), although you will see baskets being used with children both younger and older than 7-12 months (5 or 6 months, 12 to 18 months and older), and also used with people with special educational needs. The Treasure Box idea was originally devised for infants who were old enough to sit up but not old or mobile enough to get about and explore. Hence – you bring the world to them and let them explore and experience various sensory aspects (touch, sound, sight, taste, smell) through exploring the items in the basket and discovery – alongside developing hand-eye coordination skills. LL could sit unsupported, but was wobbly, I think from about 5 months and I probably started to introduce some boxes soon after. Because of the wobbles I put cushions all around him when sitting so that he can flop backwards without hurting himself. You’ll see the cushions in some of the pictures.

History: Originally introduced by  Elinor Goldschmied. You can read a bit more about her here in this article from The Guardian where the author describes her as “one of the pioneers of early childhood care and education”. Three main contributions from Elinor Goldschmied were the Treasure Basket, Heuristic Play, and the Key Person approach.

What’s this “heuristic” thing?: A term first used by Elinor Goldschmied and Sonia Jackson (see their book: People under Three) – it’s about discovery play– the term is used to described the activity of toddlers when they play with objects, how they experiment with objects and the environment. It’s called “experimental” because the child is interested in discovering what they can do with the objects. This kind of experimentation continues into later childhood and as adults where we often experiment with what we can do with different materials and things (2).  Treasure baskets are relevant here because they allow baby the opportunity to handle and mouth objects (sensory motor skills) so that they can find out more about them, and they offer new sensory experiences that allow the brain to grow and become more active (2). The term Heuristic Play is more relevant to children of toddler age, and Treasure Baskets to babies.

How to create and use treasure baskets

heuristic play, baby treasure basket theme ideas - group by different materials e.g wood, fabric, different textures of fabric, kitchen themes. Heuristic and Sensory play, encourage curiosity and discovery. From baby psychology resource baby-brain.co.uk Ok so what are some examples then?:  collect a range of items from around the room or house, that are baby safe, mouthable and excite the senses, so for example, the object has a bumpy feel to it, a certain smell, maybe it makes a noise when you shake it or hit it against another object. Goldschmied is quoted as saying that

The Treasure Basket provides a whole world in focussed form because it is deliberately collected to embrace a part of what is there” (2; pg 6)

The parent/caregiver role is also important. After presenting the Treasure Basket to baby, sit close by, be attentive and available to the child if needed but do not direct the exploration or play; let baby explore at their own pace and make the decisions without giving in to the temptation to go through the basket yourself and show baby each item or demonstrate how to use them. Don’t forget other input such as verbal influences, like asking questions, making comments or suggestions for what to do with items and imposing your own ideas (1) …..

        • Resist the urge! ⇒ Treasure baskets should be child-led and….
  • They offer very young children an opportunity to actually make decisions about what to play with and how (1) (an opportunity which they don’t usually get)

 

A personal case study

 

– Update: I was sitting with LL some days after I wrote this post  (aged 6.5 months) while he got stuck into a new treasure basket where I had mixed up the items and included some new little metal dishes that I thought he might like to bang around. I found it EXTREMELY  tempting to come in and suggest things to him,  I wanted to show him examples of what he could do with some items (like bang them together) so that he could imitate me and learn. But, I resisted and maintained the baby-led aspect and it was very interesting to see where he took it to himself – bashing things together, moving items, experimenting with them all of his own accord.

 

It was also tempting to hand items to him that had rolled out of reach or that he was struggling to handle. However, he managed to shuffle himself (in a sitting position) or stretch to reach things, adjust his hands so he could pick something up or manipulate it. It really highlighted for me the developmental aspects of the Treasure Basket through his experimentation and exploration- he was working out by himself how to do these things, developing his physical skills and problem solving skills. If I had intervened and “helped him out” by giving him items he would not have had the chance to independently initiate, practise and build on these skills, and for both of us to know that he could do these things! Actually – he probably knows he can do them, it’s just me that needs to catch up!

 

Although I was sitting close by, not commenting or interfering and so feeling a bit like “well what am I actually doing then?” about it, it was important for me to be there. LL occasionally looked up at me, made eye contact and smiled, then looked away and got on with what he was doing. He also definitely noticed when I got up and moved away from him, even though I was in the same room (I was just getting a drink or something). He paused his activity for much longer, strained to get my attention with eye contact and making noises, and didn’t seem to properly continue his exploration until I came back and sat down near him.

 

treasure baskets and heuristic play bags, history, how to and why, baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource perspective babies motherhood & blog

Treasure Tin – “round shapes” treasure basket idea

Babies get bored so don’t leave the basket out as a regular toy or else they will get bored of the items. Have a more specific session of treasure basket time instead, maybe 30-60 minutes, at a time when you think baby is set up to explore (i.e. well fed, rested, in a good mood, etc). Treasure Baskets can have 20, 40, 60 or even more items in them.

Over time you can replace and add items to the basket. Younger babies might need less items to begin with so that there is not too much choice, and you can then build on the collection and add new and unique items that baby has not seen before. Make your basket developmentally appropriate: for a younger baby, add a few selected items, ones that they are able to grasp.

Observe and see what your child is doing developmentally, and what they are about to move on to. For example, LL was starting to pick up an item in each hand, bring them together and also experiment with how two items might go together. I therefore wanted to include some things he could bash about in the “kitchen set” – see picture above- including a metal tray that he could hit with the pastry brush or measuring spoons and experience the noise. Once he moves on to grasping and manipulating smaller items I will look for more suitable things for his baskets (but be weary of any choking risks).  I noticed there are a few things that LL was not really interested in, such as the green wooden wormy thing in the Green Set (see picture below). It’s quite heavy, each segment can be moved and manipulated but maybe this is too advanced for him to use and requires more advanced fine motor skills than he had at 6 months when first presented to him. Maybe this is an item to add a bit later.

 

Safety first: ensure items are safe to touch and mouth, that there are no little bits that might pose choking hazard, that they are non-toxic, etc. Clean and wipe items first. Always ensure there is adult supervision with each activity. Please do your own risk assessment to determine which items are safe.   Here’s some more  details of some of the basket themes I’ve used – remember these are not purist treasure baskets! You can of course, and probably should, mix it up 

baby treasure basket theme ideas. Heuristic and Sensory play, encourage curiosity and discovery. From baby psychology resource baby-brain.co.uk

Some sensory and treasure basket/bin/box base filling ideas (pictures above)

Fabric

I collected fabric pieces of various shapes, colours and textures including satin feel ribbons, a baby wash cloth, netted and mesh-like pieces of material. I have presented them to LL in both a sand bucket and a small metal cake tin.  The bucket was possibly more interesting for him because he could dig through it and empty it out. I once hid a colourful ball in there which he quite enjoyed chewing on when he found it.

Green colour set

This basket includes a range of materials and items all of the same colour, including a wooden twisty wormy thing – this is what I mentioned earlier where I think it is too advanced for his age because he can’t yet twist it around and manipulate it. Some green fabric, a shaker, rattle in shape of a phone, large wooden counter, two card pictures.

Round Shapes

This tin includes a round ball, two sponges, large plastic lids, metal lids from jars, linky loops.

Musical

A little tambourine, cage bell, shaker and a lightweight rattle. This is more a little music box than a traditional treasure basket.

 

And here are some pictures of LL discovering his baskets

enjoying treasure baskets - why and how to make and use treasure baskets with infants, and about heuristic play - Baby-Brain.co.uk - Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

References

  1. Gascoyne, S. (2012). Treasure Baskets & Beyond: Realizing the Potential of Sensory-rich Play. McGraw-Hill. (access the introductory chapter to this book here, and read a more about sensory, heuristic play and Treasure Baskets)
  2. Hughes, A. M. (2010). Developing Play for the Under 3s: The Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play. Routledge

 

Other references influencing this post:

 

Montessori Monday - heuristic play and treasure basket ideas for baby & infant from baby-brain.co.uk psychology perspective resource and blog, on babies and motherhoodThis activity is Montessori inspired. For more Montessori inspired activities check out some of the weekly ideas posted as part of the “Montessori Monday” collection at “Living Montessori Now“. 

 

 

 Thank you for reading: treasure baskets and heuristic play – why and how to make and use treasure baskets – Baby-Brain.co.uk – Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

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