A Guide To Making Your Own Treasure Basket

We can never truly know what it is like to bite into a ripe juicy peach, until we have actually taken a bite ourselves.

Elinor Goldschemied, 1990
Treasure Basket. A guide to making your own treasure basket

After spending countless hours learning about open-ended materials and loose parts. I’ve delved into the realm of Treasure Baskets and the simplicity of making your own treasure basket for babies. To write this article, I had to research and trial at my preschool what makes a good loose part and formulate a list of materials.

A treasure basket is a collection of natural, household and recycled objects often kept in a basket.

I’ve made a guide of “must have” treasure basket ideas below.

Making your own Treasure basket

# Step 1: Find a low-sided and rigid basket, crate, box, or tin. This may be stashed away in a cupboard or a spare one at a relatives house. If you can’t find one I have linked one here that is on Amazon.

# Step 2: You’ll want to fill it with about 15 – 20 real-life, everyday objects. Over time add and change out items to encourage an infants curiosity and interest.

Examples of open-ended play materials to put in your basket

  • Natural items you can find in your backyard or at your local beach/forest/park: Pine cones, flowers, pumice, large shells, driftwood, river stones, large natural gemstones, and/or seed pods.
  • Man-made resources: Wood cookies, corks, wood napkin rings, metal cookie cutters, keys on a ring, loofah’s, ribbons, honey dipper (dip stick), wood spoon, large wood rings, mirror balls, wood peg dolls, cardboard tubes, scarf, a square piece of baking paper, jar rings, wooden eggs, large wood buttons, fabric off-cuts, wood trees, large felt balls, stainless steel ovals, large feather, wood brush, and/or wood scoop.
Treasure Basket. A guide to making a treasure basket. Heuristic play. The Hidden Treehouse
Here is a Treasure Basket I made. If you like it, it
would mean a lot if you could share it on pinterest.

What Are The Benefits Of A Treasure Basket?

  • Babies are able to make sense of their physical worlds
  • Cause and effect – problem-solve.
  • Experience textures, shapes, sizes, and colours
  • Stimulating sensory exploration – taste, touch, and sound
  • Discovery and concentration
  • Social interactions with other infants
  • Ability to make their own decisions through open-ended play
  • Develop their fine and gross motor skills
  • Opportunity to self-select objects to explore
  • Enjoyment


If you don’t have the means to buy resources visit your local beach, park, or forest. Even head over to your local donation stores to pick up a few bits n’ bobs. If you are wanting to read more up on loose parts and open-ended resources, be certain to read my ‘what is loose parts’ article.

Categories: Teaching Ideas, Teaching Resources

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