Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Baby School Montessori Treasure Baskets - A Guest Post!

Since many of you have been asking about how to start tot school, I thought I'd go straight to my resident expert and have her share a bit of information with you!  As you've seen on my recent Facebook and Instagram pictures, we've begun with a little "baby school" via treasure bins - as directed by my lovely friend Nicole!  Check out a few awesome ideas below!

I'm Nicole from The Kavanaugh Report. I'm a tot schooling, Montessori obsessed mama to 2.5 year old Henry. Jayne asked me to come here and share one way to start baby school with your infant -- Montessori Treasure Baskets. I'm a firm believer that children are capable of so much more than we typically give them credit, and its never too early for learning.

A Montessori treasure basket is like a sensory bin for babies. They are baskets that allow babies to safely explore the world around them. Treasure baskets don't have to be complicated to provide valuable learning to babies. Treasure bins are typically recommended for babies that are able to sit up on their own, who are eager to explore their environment, and who bring objects to their mouths. 

The idea is for babies to discover these objects on their own without intervention or instruction from an adult. If you want to use a treasure basket at home, I recommend storing it somewhere where your baby can access it on their own. When they discover the basket, sit back! Let the baby manipulate the objects however they see fit, even if its isn't a way that the way the object is intended to be used. 

After awhile, I think it is fine to start adding simple vocabulary to the objects. "Spoon," "ball," "bowl." But, remember your child should take the lead at all times. Your role is to keep them safe, not to instruct! 

Here are a few tips for making a great treasure basket -- 

1. Keep it simple. It's for a baby so a few objects will be fine. 
2. Make it safe. Nothing too small, loose, or sharp. 
3. Stick to natural materials. Fabrics, wood, metal are perfect starting places. 
4. Skip anything with a battery. You're looking to provide the baby an experience, not entertainment. 

So, what are some ways you can prepare a treasure basket? Well, the options are really unlimited. While I don't have a baby at home right now, I was able to quickly pull together a few ideas for you to try at home. So, those of you with babies, should have no problems!

Wooden: blocks, rattle, small crate, egg, little wooden shapes, wicker spiral ball, ridged instrument stick. 

Nature: wooden bowl, pine cones {please use bigger ones, but these were all I had}, wicker spiral ball, robin's egg {plastic}, large shell, artificial flowers.

Metal: whisks, toothpick jar lids, measuring cup, pouring container, various sized spoons, melon baller, ice cream scoop.

Colors {could be done in any color}: various sponges, opening/closing tomato container, foam letters, jar lid. 

If you would like more ideas about how to incorporate Montessori principals into your home or early education or tot school ideas, please come visit me at The Kavanaugh Report! Or stalk me on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

I would love to hear from you! Do you do early learning activities with your baby? Or have you ever tried a treasure basket?

Seriously, friends!  You need to check her out!  I specifically follow Nicole's Instagram for EXCELLENT tot school ideas!!!

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