Offer the Ultimate Infant and Toddler Learning Opportunities

This post is all about treasure baskets and heuristic play. The term heuristic play was coined by Elinor Goldschmied (1910-2009) in the 1990s. Adults offer seated babies (who cannot move independently) a range of natural, household and recycled objects contained in a sturdy basket for exploration. This approach to infant and toddler learning is practiced around the world but is not as popular in Canada.

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Defining Heuristic Play

Quite simply, young children are offered many objects and receptacles that they can play will freely and without adult intervention.

Babies who can sit up may explore these items in sturdy baskets that are referred to as treasure baskets. They allow children to experience a wide range of textures, surfaces, smells, sounds and yes, even tastes.

Toddlers are offered the same experiences, except in small “islands” in the classroom.

This play is not social; it is exploratory play. Children are learning what items are, what they can do and what they can become. Additionally, children are learning about abstract ideas such as:

  • Same/different
  • In/out
  • Round things roll
  • Some things bounce
  • Little/big
  • Things are different
  • Hollow/solid
  • Shiny
  • Metal is cold
  • Flat things can be piles
  • Float/sink
  • Heavy/light
  • Long/short
  • Absorbency (sponge vs. stone)

Educators provide daily opportunities to engage with these materials. The children need to be comfortable in order to play for an extended period of time. The adults are present to encourage and to provide support to the children. The adults ensure that the children always feel.

How Can You Learn More?

Creative Child Care Consulting’s workshop on Heuristic play delves into five aspects of learning and the three stages of Heuristic play. Participants will be encouraged to explore a variety of items through the eyes of a young child. Examples of treasure baskets and items for Heuristic play will be made available for exploration.

Contact us today to book your onsite workshop or subscribe to our newsletter to find out about upcoming community learning events!

Until next time

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