Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My Top 7 Baby Discovery Baskets

I don't know why I didn't do discovery baskets sooner.

They sound difficult to organise and fiddly and time consuming. They aren't. And babies love them.

Essentially, the idea is to fill a basket with everyday items (baby safe items, of course) from around the house or garden and make it accessible to bub in their play area. That's it. And my bub absolutely adores her basket. It is the go to play thing above so many other toys (that cost us a lot more than the contents of that basket). I would say they are better for a baby six months or older who can sit up and grasp objects easily. And make sure the basket is light weight and baby safe too as babies are often attracted to this as a toy as well.

Mix up objects from across different themes or have a specific theme in one basket.

Here are my top SEVEN discovery baskets:

Photo credit, D, Garding

Basket One: Wardrobe/Laundry Theme

Scarves, hats, baby clothes, fabric flower, p
egs, plastic coat hanger, wash cloths, tea towels, socks, clean baby shoes, coloured ribbons less than 20cm long, empty handbag, empty wallet, thick bangles and other hardy jewellery/accessories. 

Basket Two: Touch Theme

Fluffy puppy toy, silk pouch, woollen scarf or gloves, clean (but not needed) leather belt, hat with velcro straps, old clean denim, unused sponge/cloth (think textures such as velvet, satin, suede, fuzzy, smooth etc). 

Basket Three: Garden/Outdoor Theme

Toy gardening tools such as trowel, shovel or rake, clean gardening gloves, smelling boxes (sealed container with small holes punched in the top) of herbs/flowers/leaves, different textured leaves/grass, sealed clear container of dirt, sticks, bark and/or twigs.

Basket Four: Reflective Theme

Old shiny CD, sealed bottle filled with water and glitter, metal spoon, Milo tin lid, christmas bauble, contacted al-foil with shapes cut out of it. 

Basket Five: Bathroom Theme

Toothbrush, hair brush, comb, rubber duck, face washer, empty bottles, large clean makeup brushes, soft mirror, unused pumice stone or loofah, spray bottle, baby towel, blue water in a sealed plastic bottle to shake and splash.

Basket Six: Cooking Theme

Any containers and lids, paper towel roll, spoons, spatulas, whisks, wooden spoons, colander, measuring cups, slotted spoons, empty cereal box, rubber pastry brush, saucepans and lids, mixing bowls, plastic cups, bowls and plates. 

Basket Seven: Sound Theme
Shakers, drum, xylophone, soft mallets, bells, sealed bottles and containers that hold rice, sand, water, large beads, pebbles, small plastic objects, coins etc.  

Many mums let their babies play with household objects anyway. Having a discovery basket is a good way to encourage babies to focus their attention and allows you to compile a different range of textures, shapes, sizes and colours for them to explore in depth. It forms the building blocks for imaginative play and role play as they grow. It also means you spend less time saying 'no don't play with that' and more freedom is given to the baby to explore however they wish without valuable thinking processes being interrupted due to safety hazards as they discover. 


  1. I love all of these ideas. I find Zee's fave thing to do at 16 months is pull things out of other things and explore the contents of boxes and cupboards so these ideas are great!

    1. Thanks Kylie. It's amazing watching the type of activities and objects they are into at each stage. I remember my daughter slowly twirling a wooden spoon this way and that for a full ten minutes. It makes you wonder exactly what their little brains are trying to figure out.