Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Treasure Basket for CC

I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Raising an Amazing Child the Montessori Way. It's a wonderful book that's been added to my small pile of favorite parenting guides. From the book I picked up lots of fresh inspiration for our home and activities. One idea I was immediately drawn to was the Treasure Basket for babies and toddlers.

The concept is to collect about 50 interesting items of different properties and appealing to different senses and to present these in a basket for the child to discover, explore, and enjoy. This seemed to make so much sense--more and more CC is happier with a new kitchen tool than with her bin of toys. She is forever in drawers and cabinets trying to find new "real" things to "use."

Also, the idea of curating a collection of things just for CC appealed to me. I love doing little behind the scenes things for my children. I love thinking about them even when I'm not with them, determining what their needs are, meditating on their interests, daydreaming about their reactions. There never seems to be enough time for this kind of daydreaming about the children, and especially about a second very easy-going child, so I welcomed the chance to devote some extra time to a project just for CC.

Over a week's time I collected items, both new and from around the house. Some of the items in the basket: an oval cardboard box, a short feather boa, a terracotta foot scrub, a pumice stone, a conch, a wicker ball, an oyster shell, a silk box with a mirror in it, a bell, a sushi rolling mat, a natural rubber dog toy, a doilie, a silky ribbon, a lemon, a pine cone, a lavender sachet, a strip of leather, a wooden spoon.

The Treasure Basket has quickly become a favorite activity for CC. Mostly she spends time quietly discovering its contents, each time seeming to learn new things about her goodies. She tastes them, smells them, puts them to her cheek to check for softness. She rolls, throws, shows, or hides the objects one inside or under the other. She dumps the basket's contents out then places the objects back in one by one.

We try to leave her to quietly work with her basket, but sometimes she's in the mood for showing and telling someone all about it and then we've gathered together to let her do just that. I've also found Sabrina and CC together digging in and Sabrina explaining the various properties of items to her sister.

It's been a lovely addition to our lives, something I am grateful for having learned about, and something I know will evolve with the seasons, the holidays, and CC's interests.

This series of pictures is from CC"s first time with her basket.


erica said...

Thanks for sharing your photos and descriptions of this basket! I've read a bit about Montessori and a few months ago, I put little baskets in various rooms of our house with items from that room (like hairbrush in the bathroom basket, whisk in the kitchen basket, etc.). I sort of forgot about them and gradually put the things away, so I appreciate your reminder about what a great tool of discovery this can be for a toddler! I love my son's blossoming sense of order-- he's about CC's age and loves to explore things and then put them away one by one as well. I think we'll be making him a new basket very soon!

trina said...

What a great idea!

Jennifer said...

Great, great post. I also read the "Amazing" book and had "Aha!" moments. We have a few Montessori activities that are part of our daily routine and they just make so much sense. I am inspired by your basket... Do you think a 4 year old is too old for this type of thing?