My local beach and river provide me with all the inspiration I need to be creative, imaginative and in love with this beautiful natural world around us. It sustains us physically, provides us with sustenance, emotionally and spiritually while serving as a reminder of its power.
Wanting to educate our younger generation on protecting and maintaining this is really important, but I have discovered that making it fun and exciting is just a bonus. The cherry on top as the famous saying goes.
Have you thought about making your own treasure baskets? They are not that difficult to make and if you follow this step by step process you’ll be an expert in no time. I thought I would start with a nature basket as firstly this is my number one passion and secondly it will not cost anything to make.
With Christmas not far away, it would make a lovely personal, handmade gift. You could dress it up with a little tinsel or a bow. So let’s get started!
For the purpose of this treasure basket we are going to be gathering things from nature. Whether you live near a beach, forest, park or farm or just have an interesting backyard, there will be items you can find that will be suitable for your creation.
Remember to check for sharp edges, poisonous plants, fungus or vegetation and discard anything suspicious. Once you have collected your little treasures, gather and sort them. Clean any unwanted sand or soil from them and think about how you would like to display them in an inviting and thought provoking way for children.
Natural woven mats, fabric or rugs to spread out your treasures on could be added as well. If you have any books or pictures relating to your contents they could also be set out for research and comparisn along with drawing materials if the child/children are old enough to feel inclined to draw.
I have also found that playing music sounds from nature can create an atmosphere conducive to these type of learning experiences.
Choosing a basket
Although I typically use baskets, this does not have to be the case for you. A container with a lid for easy storage, or decorated box might suit your needs better.
I would however recommend something not too deep with low sides that is easy for the child to access . I have also found that old wooden bowls are quite a nice touch and come in various shapes and sizes.
If you have a rummage around the house or pay a visit to your local op shop you just might find the perfect one.
Deciding on your contents
So you now have a whole bunch of odd bits and pieces in front of you and you are trying to choose what goes in the treasure basket.
You could just put it all in or you might like to sort it into a few of each kind of objects. For example you may have three different kinds of seashells or a variety of pine cones of different sizes. Put them all in as this is a great way for children to make comparisons and sort sizes and shapes.
This is just for one basket so if you have gathered lots of goodies, you could always make a few and change them around or mix them up occasionally. This is just a guideline for you to get your imagination going.
Adding some extra touches
I added a magnifying glass to my basket for closer inspection of all the unusual pieces I found for this particular project. If you read my earlier post, I did mention in there about choking hazards for very young children.
I actually found some really special, but small items that I wanted to include in my basket. However they could cause a problem. I came up with a solution that solved the problem and would allow children to still enjoy exploring the items. I found some glass coffee lids that have a magnifying effect and that were able to contain the smaller objects.
They were also able to be sealed. Although they are made of glass they are quite sturdy and would not break easily although I would still recommend supervision.
While I was searching for my basket I came across some natural looking placemats that I thought would be perfect for setting up some of my treasures on.
The finished product
When you have decided what you wanted to keep and add to your basket, you can arrange it all to make it appealing and inviting. Have a quiet area set up, maybe some soft music or ocean waves (this might not be your thing) and let your child explore.
Discuss how each item feels, is it soft, hard, cold, rough. What is it shaped like.? Do they know what it is? Are there different sizes and can they identify large and small?
You are not only giving a gift basket but the gift of language and new discoveries. Thankyou for reading my post and hope it has been helpful to you all. Enjoy creating your own treasure baskets and please feel free to make contact if you have any questions or you would just like to share your ideas.
I would really enjoy seeing some of your completed projects as well so don’t be shy, I am sure they would inspire others creativity.
I would also like to hear how your children have enjoyed their experiences and any other feedback you have.