Metal Treasure Basket – Heuristic Play

A very good friend of mine, one of my NCT mummies via her Mother in Law passed us all a list of items for a Treasure Basket. The babies were about six months old at the time and from that point on I was hooked. Searching the house high and low for items for Monkey’s treasure basket. Its a collection of items which has grown with him, and even today he will play with them in a multitude of different ways (he’s almost 3).

Put simply a treasure basket is a group of day to day items made from natural materials presented generally in a wide low rimmed wicker basket so that items are easily accessible. You can present a child with a treasure basket as soon as they can sit unaided. When selecting items you should be mindful of the fact that young children will still be mouthing everything, so make sure they are suitable and do not pose a risk of choking.

Treasure baskets allow young children get the chance to touch, explore and question what you can do with everyday items. It also helps with the facilitation of concentration. Monkey would happily play with his for 45 minutes at a time much longer than the latest plastic toy. Today I am going to share with you the metal items which made up his basket, we have had it out recently with a giant magnet. Please note some of these items are not suitable for very young children.


  • Key
  • Mini Pudding Pot/Soufflé Dish
  • Thick Metal Chain
  • Jam Jar Lids
  • Rubber Plug with Metal Chain
  • Stainless Steel Sauce Pot
  • Giant Magnet
  • Jingle Bell Decorations
  • Fashion Belt
  • Tea Strainer
  • Egg Whisk
  • Sauce Whisk
  • Zip
  • Ring Chime
  • Metal Tin
  • Heart Chime Ball
  • Tea Infuser

Some other metal items you may want to include are:

  • Egg cup
  • Spoons
  • Nutcracker
  • Buckle
  • Napkin Ring
  • Bangle
  • Drawer Handle
  • Bell
  • Key ring linked together
  • Measuring spoons

We store the items in home made fabric bags that represent the items within them, so the metal one is made of shiny grey material (below). Treasure baskets can still be fun for children all the way up to school age. For a while now I have been wanting to put some new ones together for Monkey based on certain ‘themes’ so watch this space.


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  1. May 2, 2015 / 7:46 am

    I am really enjoying reading your detailed posts on treasure baskets. My second son is just about to sit up and I can’t wait to start buildimg my own treasure basket collections, using your blog for inspiration! I think the fabric bag for storage is inspired – thank you for sharing!

    • May 2, 2015 / 9:02 am

      Thank you that’s lovely to hear 🙂 will be doing some more soon for pre-schoolers xx

  2. entertainingelliot
    May 4, 2015 / 8:58 am

    oh wow, such a lovely idea! wish I’d thought of that when my little one was younger! x

    • May 4, 2015 / 8:33 pm

      Thank you 🙂 will be trying some for older children soon xx

  3. May 4, 2015 / 7:03 pm

    I’m more than happy to find this page. I want to to thank you for ones time for this
    wonderful read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you book marked to see new stuff in your

  4. Raising Mighty Girls
    May 4, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    What an interesting idea. My youngest is now 4 but perhaps a little too old? I think I’m going to try it anyway. #mumymmonday

    • May 4, 2015 / 8:32 pm

      oooo let me know how you get on, Monkey’s almost three and still loves playing with all the bits. Normally I add in a few containers as well. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  5. Fi Ní Neachtáin
    November 6, 2015 / 11:05 am

    I love things like this, they really keep the little ones entertained and curious to see what else is in the basket. I did a treasure jar full of jewellery and bits and bobs for my son and he loved it.

  6. November 6, 2015 / 8:33 pm

    Really beautiful idea, yet so simple! The natural treasure basket reminded my a little of my girls’ kindergarten toys which were all very natural simple materials.

  7. November 6, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Oh wow what a fab idea this is. My little man is at a good age for me to do this with him now actually. I am going to give this a go. x

  8. November 6, 2015 / 9:12 pm

    That is such a great idea. I never come up with idea like this. I always rely on todays toys. I think Matthew might be a bit too old for this now though. I know he will be question every single one of those items when he takes them out. lol

  9. November 6, 2015 / 11:38 pm

    You amaze me! You have so many wonderful ideas and this is great too, thanks for sharing x

  10. Messed Up Mum
    November 7, 2015 / 12:07 am

    I saw these in one of my local Surestart centres and was meant to make one, I completely forgot all about it though, thanks for the reminder! I might do a few little treasure boxes for Christmas….Cute little gifts when they’re in the bags! x

  11. November 8, 2015 / 4:01 pm

    This is such a great idea; when I was around my older daughter’s age my favourite pastime at my Nana’s house was playing with this huge jar of buttons she had in her cupboard. I’d play with them for ages, sorting them into colours, sizes and shapes! x

  12. Michelle Murray
    November 9, 2015 / 6:55 am

    This is a really great idea. I have a natural basket but never thought of doing a metal one

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