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Heuristic play ideas- 88 free, borrowed, handmade or cheap treasure basket ideas

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
paper bags
Jam jar lids
building blocks
Plastic take away containers
Shoe laces (clean)

Household items the basket can borrow
wooden spoons
key rings
metal spoons
paint brushes (washed and free from any left over paint-preferably new)
hair brushes
Old door knobs
Old silk scarves
Bath scrunchie
Sea sponge
Cake cases (silicon)
Napkin rings
Bracelets (make sure secure from braking)
Necklaces (as above)
Rubber Bath plug
Wooden bowls
Watch straps
Honey dipper
Cookie cutters
Rolling pin
Hair scrunchie
Tupperware containers
Draw string bags
Juggling bags
Tennis balls
Egg timer
Slotted spoon
Tea strainer
Outgrown clothing (ie booties or hats)
Baby safe Christmas decorations
Tea spoons
Plastic coat hanger
Curtain tie back
Meat mallet (small)
Mesh laundry tablet bag
Soap dish
Belt loop
Old fashioned dish cloth
Stainless steel tea pot
Tea cosy
Shower curtain rings
Old lace

Things you can make
A strand of corks sewn together
Knitted square
Macaroni (or any pasta or grain) rain maker
Peg dolls
A sensory teething ring (tie ribbons to a teething link)
Large wooden beads threaded on a shoe lace
Play doh
Felt ball
Knitted triangle

Things to buy on a budget
Dolly pegs
Knitted squares
Ribbons (tied around a ring is especially good)
Craft feathers
Squares of fake fur
Squares of fleece
Squares of felt
Jingle bells
Small tambourine
Small drum
A zip
Artificial flowers

Disclaimer: whilst heuristic play is independent (baby explores items on their own) it is important you are always present to supervise the play and ensure any items that become unsafe to use are removed from your baby.  I take no legal reasonability for any injury that may be caused whilst exploring treasure basket items. But hey you are all fabulous responsible parents who know this anyway. So enjoy it and have fun


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