A Montessori treasure basket or discovery basket is simply a basket filled with various “real world” objects for your child to explore.
Treasure baskets are anchored on the philosophy of Maria Montessori which emphasizes 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.
Where do I even start when building a Montessori treasure basket?
To create a Montessori treasure basket at home, simply gather several interesting objects then place them in a basket for your child to explore. Here are some ideas of items that you can put into your basket:
Paper and Cardboard
Egg cartons, paint strips, birthday cards, origami paper, cardboard tubes, envelopes, tissue paper
Wooden blocks, hardwood floor samples, door wedges, wooden spoons, napkin rings, wood cookies
Fabric and Textiles
Pieces of fabric, bean bags, leather coin pouches, bags of lavender, leather swatches, ribbons, pieces of fishing net (check sizes of holes to ensure fingers, toes, hands, etc won’t get stuck), scarves
Whisks, bells, measuring spoons, compact mirrors, keychains, bracelets, keys, zippers, tools
Objects From Nature
Pinecones, large stones, lemons, sticks, leaves, flowers, seashells, pumice stones, feathers
Small mirrors, portable light switches, empty vanilla extract or spice bottles, makeup brushes, hair rollers, rubber balls, paintbrushes, salt and pepper shakers, large buttons
Children often enjoy helping to create their own special treasure basket as well. While on a walk, or exploring a new area, encourage your child to collect some of their favorite items that they come across. Once you get home, you can give them a quick clean and add them to their special treasure basket!
*If your child is under the age of 3 or often puts items in their mouth, please research leaves and flowers to ensure that they aren’t toxic and ensure that all items are large enough to not pose as a choking hazard.