With winter approaching I was on the hunt for ways to entertain my son during the hibernating months. I came across a ton if great ideas online and found some new ideas in the isles of my local dollar store. This is our first discovery basket and it entertained my son for many hours. Different from his other toys that are store bought, I could actually watch the gears turning as he explored the contents of this basket. So much fun!
The idea of discovery baskets is not a new one. The concept, based on something called sensorial or Heuristic play, goes something like this:
By placing different objects found in nature and from around the house that have different textures, make different sounds when used together, and are different shapes and sizes, your child becomes engaged as they investigate the items, place them in groups, bang them together, and so on. This activity encourages children to think, analyze, and explore.
Parents should be present when children play with discovery or sensory baskets to ensure safety, and the occasional support. However, the child should be allowed to play independently with little parental intervention or suggestion on what to do with the objects. Find more on Heuristic play Here.
In this particular basket I used:
Fabric scraps, a colander, a ladle, a textured storage container lid, textured and smooth balls of different sizes, a fabric bird, brightly colored felt pieces, a small tinfoil baking cup (this one was his favorite), and a few other odds and ends.
The options are really endless, just follow these three rules: don’t use anything electronic (these items are limited in what they can do so they are not as engaging). Choose items that are age appropriate for your child (my son is still putting everything in his mouth so I had to consider that when choosing items). Finally, make sure to supervise your child with this activity to ensure safety.
Check back for more posts on DIY toys and activities that focus on discovery and exploration. I’ll be gathering and sharing ideas as I find them.