Shiny Baby Treasure Basket Ideas

Inside: Encourage learning through exploration with this collection of shiny baby treasure basket ideas.

If you have ever searched the internet for baby play ideas I am sure that you have come across the idea of baby treasure baskets. A baby treasure basket is basically a collection of objects safe for baby exploration – the objects might be related to each other by a common attribute, or they might be simply a collection of interesting everyday objects from around the home – and as babies are so naturally curious and learn about their world through hands on exploration, a treasure basket provides a virtual feast for discovery based learning.

Baby Play Shiny Treasure Basket Ideas

Baby treasure baskets are a great play resource  for babies once they are sitting, and with thoughtful collation they can continue to be a fabulous play resource well into toddlerhood.

Shiny Baby Treasure Basket Ideas

In this case, I created a collection of shiny and reflective objects for AJ (twelve months of age) to explore as she has shown an ongoing interest in mirrors and her own reflection. Into a low sided basket I placed;

  • A soft, lightweight mirror from a baby play mat
  • A book that includes a mirror that AJ enjoys but we haven’t read for quite a while now
  • An interesting, coloured plastic ball toy that is lined with a reflective surface
  • Two silver-lined tin lids
  • A toy pot
  • A soup spoon
  • An old CD
  • A plastic, silver Christmas bauble
  • A small cosmetic mirror that flips open
  • A Cream of Tartar container that is lined with silver
Childhood 101 | Baby Treasure Basket- Shiny & Reflective
  • A piece of silver cellophane (alfoil would work just as well) that I cut a few shapes into and covered (both sides) with clear, self adhesive book covering (see below). A friend’s child recently made a similar ‘crinkle paper’ for AJ from coloured paper and she likes to listen to it crinkle as she scrunches it and enjoys playing peekaboo through the holes.
Childhood 101 | Heuristic Play - How Babies Learn - crinkle paper

The exploration begins…

Childhood 101 | Baby Play Ideas - Shiny & Reflective Treasure Basket

Unsurprisingly AJ reaches for the spoon first, she loves to stir! The Cream of Tartar container becomes her stirring vessel.

Childhood 101 | Baby Play Activities- Shiny & Reflective Treasure Basket

Look Mum, I can bang and make noise too.

Childhood 101 | Baby Play Activities- Shiny & Reflective Treasure Basket

She continues to take items from the basket, examining each one. The cosmetic mirror holds her attention for a long time as she works to work out how to open and close it.

Childhood 101 | Ideas for Baby Play - Treasure Basket- Shiny & Reflective

I am fascinated to watch her try to put the Christmas bauble into the small Cream of Tartar container. It doesn’t fit.

Childhood 101 | Treasure Baskets - Ideas for Baby Play

Maybe if I try it this way? Nope, still won’t go in. She tries again and again to try to get the bauble into the container.

Childhood 101 | Treasure Basket Ideas - Baby Play

Hmmm…maybe this lid will work instead. That’s sort of interesting but I am still tightly holding the bauble.

Childhood 101 | Treasure Baskets - Baby Play

The tin lid is discarded and it’s back to trying to fit the bauble into the container.

Childhood 101 | Heuristic Play - Treasure Basket - Baby Play

After watching her keep trying for quite a long while I offer AJ a tall, cylindrical tin that the bauble will fit into. That’s more like it. I can fit it in!

Childhood 101 | Heuristic Play for Babies

And tip it out, or put my hand in and take it out, and I can shake it around and it makes noise, and I can put the spoon in as well,

Childhood 101 | Heuristic Play - How Babies Learn

And I can even stand up and do all of that too. It’s even more fun tipping it out from up here. It rolls around and I have to chase after it. And start all over again.

Can’t you just see the exploring, thinking and learning happen! And the best thing, she hasn’t yet even explored all of the contents of the basket so we can revisit this collection of shiny treasure basket items again and again on subsequent days.

Have you ever made a treasure basket for your baby to explore?

For more baby play ideas, check out these related posts;

Baby sensory toys
Baby play ideas: Sea in a Bottle
Sound and listening baby treasure basket ideas


  1. Aw. Such a lovely post. And what cute pictures – you’ve captured her play brilliantly. My kids helped me make two treasure baskets gifts for baby twins recently. We were lucky enough to hand them over and watch the twins play with them this weekend. Each soft basket had a scoop, some lengths of silky ribbon and a couple of smallish balls in them. Very simple – but my goodness, how they played with them! Tipping stuff out, putting stuff in, shaking and waving the ribbons, clutching and scooping up the balls. I put a picture of the baskets up on my FB page but haven’t got round to writing a post about them – so it was great to see yours today!

  2. Its interesting how long she worked on trying to get that ball into the cylinder that was too small. I think one of the hardest thing as a parent is letting the kids get frustrated when something doesn’t work or fit and not stepping in and doing it for them.

  3. bubble936 says:

    thanks for sharing this.

  4. I hadn’t thought about doing a themed treasure basket. I will definitely bookmark this post for future reference. I just gave my girl her first treasure basket this week. She is seven months, and loved it! It is amazing how long they can be engaged with these things, and how enjoyable it is to watch them explore.

  5. Great idea, Christie. I might involve Bella in making a basket for Paige 🙂 I love how persisent AJ is with that bauble!

  6. Is that crinkle paper inspired by Bella’s present? She’ll be so chuffed that AJ liked it so much 🙂

  7. I just made my 7 month old son a shiny treasure basket after reading your lovely post. He played with the first two things he picked up for a good 10 minutes before he moved on to exploring the others. Thanks for the inspiration! I just love watching him experiencing the world. Right now he’s banging a spoon on a milo tin and loving the results!

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