Friday, 2 March 2012

The unorthodox toy basket

Alice has her share of fancy toys that I carefully selected over the past few months. However, if I really want to make her happy, I get the Treasure Basket (aka Hippie Basket).

I don't remember why I visited that web site but the text that I read changed my vision of how babies play and how, as parents, we often don't realized that simple is generally much better.

I also learned a new term: Heuristic Play. Basically, it describes the activity of children as they explore the properties of objects from everyday life. Heuristic play with babies (from the time that they can sit unaided to around 18 months) revolves around the use of the Treasure Basket. Babies put everything in their mouth since it is their way to explore objects. By creating a Hippie Basket filled with 20-30 objects, which comprise a variety of textures and materials, you will provide a rich experience that will inevitably stimulate your baby's senses.

To make your Hippie Basket, you obviously need...a basket. Then look around your house for baby safe objects like a small knitted toy, a pocket mirror, a paint brush, a silk scarf, a whisk, a notebook, etc. You can also add a few "short term objects" like a finished toilet paper roll, an egg box, a lemon (?!? but Alice loves it) or a big pine cone.

Once your Hippie Basket is completed, let your kid play with it for about 45 minutes everyday. Of course, if Alice decides to investigate the big pine cone, I will supervise a bit more to make sure that she is not going to choke on an eventual piece of broken pine cone. However, don't become an helicopter parent and please let your baby explore "real" objects not targeted for babies.

In a world were toys are so intense that they limit a child's creativity and discovery, heuristic play came to our life as a breath of fresh air...and it is free so why not give it a try!

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Thank you so much for your amazing comments regarding my hypochondriac tale. You are the best medicine! xox

13 comments:

alyson said...

this is so funny - and refreshing. Wolf loves playing with things that are not toys, a whisk, wooden spoon, plastic water bottle, etc. and I always thought it was comical and a bit embarrassing that he has all of these things in his toy basket. what a funny relief to know it's actually acceptable! ;)

Linda said...

Great article. Without even reading this, i have always done similar for my kids - usually play involves the tupperware draw, whisks, wooden spoons, pegs, string, but it's time I put together a modified one for little Ada. Thanks!

Lina said...

This takes me back Claudia, you are a great mom. I used to do exactly the same with my little ones, unfortunately we moved to Canada and my mother in law went plastic toy crazy. Thankfully we are now past that stage and there is less "stuff" these days - mostly craft and gadgets.

Kim said...

What a fantastic idea! My Jack is only 5 months old, but we've already been given quite a bit of plastic. I'm going to start putting a basket together for him to explore.

abercrombie said...

I agree with your idea, toys are so intense that they limit a child's creativity and discovery, heuristic play came to our life as a breath of fresh air...and it is free so why not give it a try! looking forward to all the good things your blog shares.

gillian said...

fantastic!
thank you for posting this, claudia. i was noticing that mia appears somewhat 'bored' with her everyday toys now. i think i will put together a treasure basket for her tomorrow and see what she thinks.

bugheart said...

i like the idea.
hmmm... what
would i put
in our hippie
basket?

peanut said...

I've seen something similar to this before and I still like the idea. It reminds me of my mum's (and grandmother's) tupperware cupboard. When we were little all the kitchen cupboards and drawers were safety latched except the one that had the tupperware in it (I remember my grandmother throwing in the odd wooden spoon or potato masher too). We were allowed in that cupboard as much as we wanted and I remember it being very popular (especially when the grown ups were busy with dinner or things like that).

eliina said...

I love this idea, and I think my eight month old daughter will too. I'm going to start collecting objects from around the house during her nap.

bethxlove said...

What a sweet idea! xxx

Queta said...

I really love this! It reminds me of when my husband and I had my niece over a sleepover. We went out and bought her dolls and a few toys to entertain her with, but she would have none of it. All she wanted to do was play with a retractable tape measure that I received for FREE at a yarn store!

I'll have to gather items for a Hippie Basket once my little one is sitting up!

lili est insolente said...

really good idea this magic basket, i will do the same in a little luggage

Lindsey [homegrown spud] said...

ooo...i love this. its very montessori of you, being a natural mom who lets her daughter explore this awesome world. i'm doing it for our spud too i decided. thanks!!