When Little Mr A was a few months old I attended a variety of sessions at my local Sure Start centre. One of these sessions showed us how to make 'treasure baskets'. If you've never heard of this before it is basically a box full of everyday, non-toy items for your child to explore and play with. They are meant to be put out occasionally for baby and parent to play with together and should not be left for baby to play with on their own as it may contain items that would not be safe if were put in their mouth.
When Little Mr A could sit on his own we used to get out his treasure basket in the evenings for him to sit and explore with either myself or Big Mr A. It was a nice way for him to chill out before bed.
I would never have imagined giving him household items to play with when he had an overflowing toy box, however, it was by far his favourite activity. He used to love getting everything out and exploring each item with his hands (and mouth!). As Little Mr A grew he decided to take his items outside to play with in his sand pit.
It is a great thing to make for your baby as you don't have to spend much. You can either put in items you have around the house or have a trip to a supermarket/discount store and buy lots of little bits that don't cost much at all! Also, it can be added to whenever you spot something else either in a shop or when you are out and about, perhaps at the beach where you could find some shells/stones. The other great thing is, if anything gets too worn/soggy it does not cost a lot to replace.
We have been looking around for a present for Little Miss A's first Christmas and have not been impressed with the baby toys on offer. As she already has lots of things handed down from Little Mr A I have decided to make her her own treasure basket for her to enjoy when she gets a bit bigger. So far I have put in the following items but plan to add a few more bits before I send it off to Santa!
Material samples (found lots of free samples from the internet of all different materials)
Wooden Rolling Pin
Large beaded necklace (had for ages in a cupboard doing nothing as it is too heavy to wear!)
Plastic measuring spoons
Bag of pot pourri which I have separated the large 'balls' from
I am now on the look out for some 'bathroom' items such as sponges/pumice stones and perhaps some shells so Little Miss A will have a large variety of different items and textures to explore! I hope she gets as much out of it as her big brother did!