I’ve already written a bit about treasure baskets in the past. Now that Bee is older, they’re becoming even more fun! Currently, she has a basket of different pinecones and acorns on her “play altar” / “nature table.” It’s been a great way for her to explore some of Mother Nature’s diversity. It’s an open-ended way to explore and play. She sometimes sorts them by type or size. Once she used them to make imprints in play dough.
One thing that I like about this particular treasure basket is that it’s very seasonal, and Bee has been able to add to it whenever we’re out on our walks. She gets really excited when she finds new acorns, acorn caps, and cones. I ask her if she’d like to take one to her nature table. This activity shows her that she has choice and that her opinions matter to me. We also say “thank you” to the Earth Mother and trees whenever we bring a new friend inside. Of course, it’s also added to her vocabulary!
Knowing your child is definitely important when it comes to making new treasure baskets. Bee is past the age of putting random things in her mouth. We’ve had many discussions about what is and isn’t food. (We’ll save the fact that many of our ancestors used ground acorns and pine nuts in meals for another day…) For the last few months, she’s demonstrated an understanding that only food should go in her mouth. Her last treasure basket was filled with different shells, and we introduced some smaller specimens towards the end. Last year, I wasn’t able to let her play with anything small enough to fit through a toilet paper tube. It’s amazing how quickly little ones learn!
I’m planning to retire the pinecone and acorn treasure basket for a bit (I’ll bring them out again in the future), so I’m excitedly thinking about what the next basket will be!