My daughter, Sweet Bee, just turned a year old! Ever since she was 6 months old (maybe even younger) she has enjoyed Montessori discovery or treasure baskets. I usually keep one filled with interesting items for her to enjoy on her Montessori shelves. She has enjoyed a basket full of various textured balls for a long time. I decided to put some new baskets on her shelves to spark her interest. I will share with you four ideas for how to create Montessori Baby Discovery Baskets.
What is a Montessori Baby Discovery Basket?
A discovery (treasure) basket is simply a basket or bowl filled with 5-12 items. You can be as creative as you want by filling the basket with various sensory items for the baby to explore. The treasure basket is usually for an older baby or younger toddler to explore with their senses. The theme of the basket can be colors, nature collections, letter sounds, categorical items such as animals or kitchen tools, and musical instruments.
The treasure basket encourages the child to use their senses while they explore the objects. Maria Montessori emphasized that the brain is developed by the discoveries of the hand. As the fine motor movements of the fingers touch an object, this information is sent to the developing brain.
Place the basket of items on a low shelf for your child to discover it and begin to explore. They will use their hands to touch, mouth to taste, eyes to examine, nose to smell, and ears to listen (if the item makes a noise).
Please only introduce safe materials to your child that are not a choking hazard or other danger. Fill the basket with natural materials such as metal (no sharp edges), leather, wood, cotton, wool, or other.
The discovery basket can be explored freely by the child on her own or you can join your child. As they play with an item, you can say the name of the object.
The Color Red Discovery Basket
Inside this themed basket I have the following red items:
- Red Crayon
Farm Animal and Insect Discovery Baskets
Items inside the insect basket:
Items inside the farm animals basket:
I created a set of free farm animal toddler matching cards for you to enjoy with your child. These printables are located in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Teachers Pay Teachers is an amazing resource for teachers and homeschoolers to find printables for school or home.
For a young toddler, have them start with matching object to object and only give them two sets (pairs) at first. Then advance to object to card matching and finally card to card matching. Once they have mastered two sets, you can advance to three and four sets for matching. This exercise helps to prepare the toddler for reading and writing later in the preschool years.
Music Discovery Basket for Baby and Toddler
This last basket is lots of fun for kids of all ages to explore! I love to collect child-safe instruments that don't have small parts (choking hazard), sharp parts, or difficult to manipulate features.
Instruments inside the music treasure basket:
- Egg Shakers
- Frog Guiro
- Jingle Sticks
- Rhythm Bells
- Rhythm Sticks
More Discovery Baskets!
My dear friend Yuliya at Welcome to Mommyhood and I have teamed up to write a series of infant posts. Please hop on over to her blog and read about her lovely discovery baskets for her adorable little one.