Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sensory play activities... Heuristic Treasure Baskets

I came across this FANTASTIC blog called The Imagination Tree that is written by Anna. I have been following it for a few months now and have finally found some time to create some of her activities. 

In today's society many children are fortunate enough to have access to fantastic toys and technology learning tools - but sometimes it's the simple things that will keep a child entertained for hours. Just watch a young child at Christmas time - they are more entertained by the wrapping then the gift itself! Heuristic Play is the term that Elinor Goldschmeid used when describing how a toddler interacts with objects. It is about providing open-ended learning opportunities for young children and this can be achieved by creating Treasure Baskets that have items of 50-60 natural or found objects (that are small but not too small) from around the house or garden and simply sit back and let them freely explore using all of their senses!

Checking everything out - by pulling everything out! Things went in the mouth (of course) then we started banging things together, tapping them on the floor and throwing the basket around with things still in it. 

He LOVED looking into the bauble and seeing his distorted reflection (just be careful with some Christmas baubles as they can break easily - as this one did moments later!!!)

Big brother was curious as well... Nice to see some sharing happening. 

Collect up to 50-60 items and place them into a basket (ideally a shallow, round basket so that bubs can reach into it from all sides, but use what you have at home as I have) and give this to bubs to play with a few times a week to keep it interesting and exciting. Be sure to change the items regularly to engage your little one. Use things from around the home and garden, and refrain from using plastic as much as possible, and have NO technology in there as these items are closed and don't evoke as much imagination. 
Some Heuristic Treasure Basket ideas can include:

So far I have created a Reflective Basket (as seen in the picture) and a wooden basket. Below are the items I added to give you some ideas as to what you could put in yours...
Reflective Treasure Basket
Old CD
Round cookie cutter
Large metal rice serving spoon
Old keys
Christmas bauble
Mirror ball (small)
random tool left over from Ikea purchase

Wooden Treasure Basket
Wooden spoons (different sizes)
Sushi mat
Wooden massage rollers
Wooden Babushka dolls

I'll hopefully collect more items as I come across them, and start creating some other baskets. These would also be really fantastic in a classroom for children with Special Needs who need sensory stimulation. I might take them in to one of my classes this term. 

Check out Anna's blog over at The Imagination Tree for more images and ideas. 

If you want to read more about Heuristic Play, follow the links:

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