Treasure Boxes and Heuristic Play

We’ve recently made a treasure box and introduced heuristic play to Teddy and he loves it!

Heuristic means to enable a person to discover or learn something for themselves and heuristic play encourages babies and toddlers to explore, investigate and make discoveries. It encourages them to be independent and use their own minds. It encourages your baby to explore life!

Teddy is just at that age where he’s exploring and enjoying discovering new things. I sometimes forget that he’s seeing and discovering lots of things for the very first time! I love the face he made when he heard Sophie the Giraffe squeak for the first time or when he saw the beads in the rainmaker toy!

We have a large hamper that stores Teddy’s toys but we also have a small wicker basket hamper that can store smaller toys so we’ve made it into a treasure box!

The treasure box has things that Teddy won’t play with every day so when we take it out it’s special and he wants to explore the new things. He has his every day favourites like Sophie, Beatbo and The Very Hungry Caterpillar book but the treasure box is different!

Things in our treasure box

wooden rings

ribbons on a ring

crinkly fabric (like the foil blankets you get after a marathon)

egg cups

plastic measuring cups

tea strainers

baby food freezer pots and lids


small metal bowls

Other things you could put in a Treasure Box

wooden spoons

extra large bells


wooden dolly pegs

small boxes

big feathers



Ours is made up of things we already had around the house but Wilko or Target would be a great place if you want to buy new things.

Make sure all the objects are washable, the first thing Teddy does is put them in his mouth, and don’t use anything you feel unsuitable or unsafe, even if you’ve seen other people use it. If in doubt, leave it out!

At the moment Teddy likes to concentrate on one or two items but we take everything out of the basket and lay it out on the floor so he can explore and choose for himself. For a non mobile baby you could keep the items in the basket and let them reach in to choose.

We encourage play by minimising distractions like TV or radio and Teddy is always supervised with his treasure box. It’s fun to talk about the things from the box and what he’s doing with them too. We talk about the difference between bumpy and smooth items, whether he’d like the pink or yellow tea strainer, how soft the ribbons are, and we love talking about the noise you can make with a spoon and the bowl!

Treasure boxes stimulate all of a baby’s senses, sight, touch, hearing, smell and definitely in Teddy’s case taste!

Let us know if you have a go at putting your own treasure box together, we’d love to see your lovely treasures!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *