When my daughter was younger and had first learned to sit upright on her own, I started making little baskets of random items for her. I wrote about these treasure baskets on the Sweet Talk blog. She really enjoyed them at the time, but for the past few months I’ve started making her interest baskets. It’s the same concept, only the items I choose are a bit more intentional and based on things I notice engage her interest.
I keep one or two baskets out at a time. They stay on her bookshelf in our ‘study.’ She is of course free to take them and play wherever she wishes, but it’s helpful to have a specific place to put things when it’s time to clean up. (That’s sort of my rule for the entire house. Not just for little ones.)
Here are just a few interest basket ideas. There’s really no limit to what you could do with this concept. Follow your child’s interests and watch their minds grow!
Jar and Lid Interest Basket
I noticed that my daughter loved to try and unscrew any lid that she could get her hands on. This is a perfectly natural curiosity and instead of constantly telling her not to mess with my lotion, I saved up a few empty jars for her to play with. She quickly became adept at taking the lids on and off. Working hard on those fine motor skills!
There was also the element of matching in this basket because all three jars were different sizes. She spent a lot of time experimenting with them matching the right lid to its jar and nesting them inside each other. She also started hiding little things inside and stacking them into towers– both things I hadn’t really anticipated her doing!
Wallet Interest Basket
Oh how she loves to rifle through my wallet and pull each card out of its place. My cards were constantly strewn throughout the house. My driver’s license? Under the table. My credit card? Next to the refrigerator.
An easy solution was to make her own wallet and fill it with random membership cards and old IDs and membership cards that aren’t really vital. She loves pulling them out and putting them back in. I’ve actually seen her ‘swipe’ a card before.
People Interest Basket
I wrote an entire post about this one I love it so much. You can read it here for all the details about each item. Her most favorite thing is the little ring book I made with all the members of her family. She loves to flip through and identify all the people. I mix and match the items sometimes just all the Kids Around the World Block Play People, other times a few dolls and the cards to match them. Sometimes just family photos. She’s super-interested in looking at faces. I think I’ve got a social one on my hands!
Truck Interest Basket
If wheels are involved, my daughter is interested. We see a lot of construction vehicles near our home and ‘truck’ was definitely one of her first words. My son was gifted this Pop-Up Peekaboo: Things That Go book when he was about 18 months. Now my little girl reads it. I store it in a basket with this WOW Dump Truck. I like the idea of making connections between literature and life–no matter how basic. It’s an important skill she will use in the future so why not start thinking about it now?
I hope these gave you some ideas for presenting items to your little explorers. The key is to follow your child’s natural curiosity about the world.
What kinds of interest baskets would your little one enjoy?