35 Awesome Sensory Treasure Baskets Ideas for Babies

Entertaining a baby/toddler is hard work! Anyone that thought a baby will calmly sit next to you and be content is quickly surprised how adventurous they can get once they are sitting, moving, and putting everything in their mouth. Let your baby discover the world around them safely by using Montessori baby treasure baskets.

Treasure baskets contain objects made from natural materials, these are normally displayed in a small basket that children can reach into select objects of their choice.

What are the benefits of Montessori treasure baskets

The predominant way that babies in the early years (baby to about 18 months) is to discover and learn about their world through sensory-motor development.

You can start using these treasure baskets once your baby is able to sit and hold things to explore.

During this stage, a baby’s primal instinct is to explore objects by handling and mouthing them in order to find out about their physical characteristics.

This is why you see that babies are more attracted to real-world objects rather than plastic toys we tend to buy.

What is the ideal age to use a treasure basket?

Treasure Basket can be used with babies from the time that they can sit unaided to around 16-18 months, during this phase the primary question a baby would ask if they could talk would be ‘What is the object like?’

By using a treasure basket with children at this age you are providing them with rich mental stimulation, which not only activates the growth of the brain but also provides richly satisfying experiences for the baby.

How to make a baby treasure basket

A treasure basket’s goal is to encourage your baby to use his or her senses to explore and make new discoveries independently.

This means they should be able to explore the box independently and safely. 

Build independence through Treasure baskets

The baby needs to be able to make their own choices about which objects they are going to pick up and how they are going to explore them without interference. 
A baby will have a much richer and more stimulating experience, developing confidence and concentration when they can explore at their own pace.

This means having the ability to explore with out being ‘shown’ things and ‘how’ to use them by an adult. Let the baby explore at their own time and pace, there is no right or wrong way for a baby to explore or use the materials as long as they are allowed to do it Independently.

HOW TO MAKE A baby treasure basket

treasure basket ideas

Pick a sturdy basket, preferably once that is round and measuring 10”–14” diameter. But more important than it being round is for it to be able to be big or deep enough that your baby can see all the treasures at once.

Goodpick 2pack Cotton Rope Basket available on Amazon
Colorbasket Bowl Basket – Natural Color, Set of 3
Natural Wicker Basket
Honey-Can-Do 3pc Round Natural Baskets

Once you have selected your basket, we need to locate the objects that will go into the discovery treasure baskets.
Let’s talk about what you can and should not put in there followed by some Montessori treasure basket ideas that you can replicate.

What should I avoid putting in my baby’s montessori treasure baskets Treasure Basket?

  • Avoid plastic items. We live in a world where plastic toys dominate the shelves of toy shops, but plastic is dull and disappointing for babies, and while each rattle may look different each one smells, tastes, and feels the same – it is un-stimulating to a babies senses.
  • Choose natural found items Like leather, wood and metal as well as other things found in nature. Make sure nothing with handles longer than 10” long.
  • Objects must be large enough not to be swallowed and free from sharp edges or anything else that might be harmful when they are touched and quite possibly mouthed by a young child. 
  • Always remove any small or loose parts that may cause a choking hazard.
  • Avoid painted wood that can come loose once in contact with saliva.
  • Avoid keys or any other object known to have led.

What should I put in my baby’s Treasure Basket?

Once you have your basket it is time to collect items to place in the basket.

You can create a themed discovery box by placing similar items or you can create a nature mixed Basket by placing things that go together in one basket.

MaterialS to collect

Here are some ideas you can collect to add to your Montessori treasure baskets.

Paper/Cardboard/Recycled Objects

Via: Pre-School Play set up
  • Egg boxes
  • notebooks
  • sturdy cardboard paper towel tubes
  • toilet paper tubes
  • greaseproof paper
  • Corks
  • Clothspins

Wooden Objects

  • Curtain rings
  • Door wedge
  • small wood box
  • Peg dolls
  • Wooden egg cup
  • wooden eggs
  • Wooden spoons
  • Coaster
  • Bracelet
  • Block
  • Napkin rings
  • Dowel
  • Empty wooden salt and pepper cellars


  • Leather
  • Silk textiles
  • Fur objects
  • Small knitted toy
  • Bean bags
  • Piece of flannel
  • Colored ribbons

Metal Objects

  • Honey drizzler
  • Measuring spoons
  • Tea strainer
  • Whisk
  • Bells
  • Lemon squeezer
  • Small mixing bowls

Rubber/Silicone OBjects

  • Balls
  • Bath toys
  • Pot Holders
  • Cake spatulas

Natural Objects

A huge collection of ideas and inspiration to help educators and parents put together treasure baskets for play and learning at home or childcare.
  • Pinecones
  • Seashells
  • Coconut shell
  • Grass rope
  • Sheepskin
  • Pumice stone
  • Loofah
  • Shells
  • Driftwood
  • Avocado stone
  • Large pebbles


via: Christmas Potpourri
  • Bags of herbs
  • Tea Bags
  • Bag of lavender
  • Real fruits like lemons or oranges
  • Potpourri bag
  • Dried flowers in a salt shaker
    Cinnamon Sticks

Montessori Treasure Basket Ideas

Sometimes in order to understand a concept it is easier if you see some samples. Samples of baskets put together by other moms to understand how the random objects mentioned above fit together.

With that in mind let’s discover some treasure basket ideas.

Fall treasure basket

Create baskets around holidays. A treasure basket to celebrate autumn and fall can be done by placing real pumpkins in a basket. You could also add some apples, corn and other items that you can think of that are related to fall.


Christmas themed treasure basket

I bet if your baby is around all your holiday decorations he/she will want to explore all of them! Let’s make sure they can do this safely by creating a basket where they can explore things without damaging the de cation from grandma or getting hurt. A Christmas basket can have wrapping paper, ribbons, pine cones, bushes of real Christmas tree, and some themed wood decorations.

Shiny objects basket

A collection of spoons 🥄 and other utensils around the kitchen are all a favorite for babies! You can even replace the wick basket for a metal one and explore with the sense of sound.

Shapes and colors

You don’t have to limit yourself to only objects of one material. You can mix and match by creating a theme around colors or shapes like this basket full of all things round and circles. Notice the oatmeal can? This has been placed to encourage filling and dumping – a favorite activity for babies and even toddlers!

Although the next set of baskets do not stick to the all natural concept they are a great way to introduce colors using different textures.

Color Blue Treasure Basket

This was us trying to learn about treasure baskets and placing all of his favorite toys in color blue. Always make sure everything you put in the basket it can be safely put in their mouth.

Black and White Basket

Choose two high-contrasting colors and find items around those colors to place in a basket.

via coconut counting

Color red Treasure Basket

You will be surprised how easily the color baskets are easy to put together and how attractive they look for the baby to explore.

Color Orange Treasure Basket

Perfect for Halloween or October! There are so many orange things around during this time that it is a great time to explore this color.

Color yellow Basket

Yellow is such a pretty color and it comes in so many different shades, aim for different materials and textures when combining and choosing things for your basket.

Brushes basket

Exploring textures can be a great idea. Use the same object that comes in different sizes and textures like this basket of brushes or a basket of things that shine or things that reflect like the mirrors.

Mirror basket

Babies love to look at other babies and themselves, they yet no recognize that the reflection is them. Look for different size mirrors and place them together in a basket. This basket will also be a great basket to practice body parts as they can see their nose as you touch it.

Reflective basket

This one was a hard one for me, I didn’t have that many objects that shine and were safe for my baby but the CD was a favorite and I had plenty of those!

Other ideas to Place in the reflective Basket: 
     Metal whisk, 
     Old CD, 
     Sparkly glitter ball, 
     Mirrored ornament, 
     Spoons (Eating and Serving)
     Hand bells, 
     Shiny napkin ring, 
     Little watering can

More treasure basket ideas

Here is a collection of more ideas shared online. A basket of colored stacking cups, a collection of wooden cars, curtain wood rings, bracelets and toy links, a collection of colored wooden blocks, a collection of coffee cups, measuring spoons in various sizes, stacking cubes, basket of scarfs, collection of natural brushes, large pebbles, colored wood blocks, natural blocks, round balls, natural mixed basket, musical instruments.

Last thoughts on montessori treasure baskets

Creating these baskets does not have to be expensive. Use what you have at home, what you collect in your nature walks, and during your travels. Replace items that do not get explored with new ones and always supervise the use of these baskets. Observe as much as you can and allow independent playtime and discovery.

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