Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Treasure Baskets

For some time, I have been meaning to write about the resources that I use with Ruby in her play, so that I have a record to help me remember when our family grows and her first year seems like a lifetime ago. I am working on a post to share with you the rationale behind the resources that I give her. I realise that you might be reading this with a furrowed brow, wondering why I am talking about 'rationale' and 'resources' in relation to an eight month old baby, rather than just toys and play. When you see the photos of the things that Ruby plays with on a daily basis, you will see that many of the items we give her are not 'toys' in the traditional sense, hence my use of the term 'resources'.
The majority of resources that we give Ruby to play with are organised into a few different baskets, and distributed around the house. In this post I will give an overview of some of the treasure baskets that I have created for Ruby using everyday objects that I already had before she was born.

There are so many different textures for babies and children to explore when it comes to fabrics. We have a basket with a variety of fabrics and materials in that reflect the following properties:
+ bubble wrap
+ upholstery fabric
+ 100% cotton fabric
+ shimmery fabric
+ foil blanket
+ felt
+ flannel

Properties that babies and children will encounter as they explore these materials:
+ heavy & light
+ thick & thin
+ shiny & matte
+ bumpy / textured & smooth
+ colours
+ bendy & rigid
The photo above was taken when Ruby was 5 months old and was still mastering the art of sitting independently. This meant that she still spent a fair amount of time lying down, and we discovered that the foil blanket that John received after running a 10k race was a perfect material for her to explore. Ruby would spend extended periods of time happily playing with it - one of the things I love about it is that although the foil is very light, it holds its shape, so when Ruby pulled it over her face, it was perfectly safe, because it did not fall directly on top of her face, but created a tent over her.
One of the first treasure baskets I made for Ruby was filled with a variety of wooden blocks, made by my Father in law for his own children. The basket itself proved to be an enjoyable thing to explore too. 
 So far, the themes I have organised the treasure baskets around are as follows:

+ wooden objects: small wooden spoon, honey twizzler, bowls, minature pots, candle holder, plate
+ colour: jacob's ladder, coloured wooden stacking rings, fabric hoops, coloured ribbons, concentric rainbow)
+ shiny objects: cd, water bottle, measuring cups, food scoops, teaspoon, bell, whisk, funnel, lid
+ musical instruments: homemade shaker, maraca, bells - this one is a little sparse.
When Ruby and I are spending time at home, most of that time is spent downstairs, so I have placed a different basket of treasures in each of our downstairs rooms so that there is variety in each place where Ruby plays. It also means I don't have to think so much about bringing toys from the living room into the kitchen when I am cooking and need something for Ruby to play with. In all honesty, I have found it challenging to rotate the resources regularly enough to maintain Ruby's interest, and feel like I am giving her enough variety. I would love to spend time researching and perusing places like Pinterest for more inspiration, but I have found it hard to prioritise this. I would love to hear from you if you have any great ideas for different treasure baskets, or for things to do with a young baby. Feel free to share your wisdom in the comments!


  1. You have clearly put a lot of creative thought into Ruby's development. It was fascinating to see the effect of this yesterday in the transformation in her mood, from being unsettled and distracted while being held to being stimulated in multiple ways when sat with one of the baskets. She immediately started vocalising, manipulating dextrously, and transitioning from sitting to nearly crawling.

  2. It was great to see Ruby playing with her resources while we were there. I was wondering what the reasoning behind theming each basket rather than putting a variety of different types of resource in each one is.