I love sensory play, and when I first found out about the idea of heuristic treasure baskets I really connected with the ideas behind them.
The principle is to create a play environment where children can engage with real world objects to develop a creative and practical outlook on the world.
Child activist Elinor Goldschmeid believed that passive toys created active children and vice versa.
She stressed that the best toys are the toys that don't do anything, especially for babies.
During their first year babies explore the world primarily by touch. It makes sense then to provide a variety of different sensory experiences.
Heuristic baskets are so popular and supported by developmental professionals that sure start centres in the UK spend a large amount of money buying these baskets from dedicated sellers which start at about £80.
I sell sensory kits on eBay and complete treasure baskets (starting at £2.99) these are comprised of hand finished items and slightly more difficult to get hold of items.
But I'll let you into a secret. You don't need to spend a penny to create your own.
Free and recycled sensory basket items:
shells (large enough to not become a choking hazard)
stones (as above)
kitchen roll tubes
plastic drinks bottles
old gloves or hats
hot drink tubs
Jam jar lids
Plastic take away containers
Shoe laces (clean)
Household items the basket can borrow
paint brushes (washed and free from any left over paint-preferably new)
Old door knobs
Old silk scarves
Cake cases (silicon)
Bracelets (make sure secure from braking)
Necklaces (as above)
Rubber Bath plug
Draw string bags
Outgrown clothing (ie booties or hats)
Baby safe Christmas decorations
Plastic coat hanger
Curtain tie back
Meat mallet (small)
Mesh laundry tablet bag
Old fashioned dish cloth
Stainless steel tea pot
Shower curtain rings
Things you can make
A strand of corks sewn together
Macaroni (or any pasta or grain) rain maker
A sensory teething ring (tie ribbons to a teething link)
Large wooden beads threaded on a shoe lace
Things to buy on a budget
Ribbons (tied around a ring is especially good)
Squares of fake fur
Squares of fleece
Squares of felt