Heurisitc play involves babies and young children playing and interacting with everyday objects, from the ‘real world’, rather than ‘traditional’ toys. It is proven that this type of play helps to provide a wide range of sensory stimulation. Babies learn about the world around them through sensory motor development, as it helps them to understand and learn about different physical characteristics. Heuristic play therefore creates rich learning experiences for children, and helps children become more independent and learn for themselves.
One way to get started with heuristic play, is to create heuristic or treasure baskets. By including a wide range of objects in these baskets, babies are given the opportunity to dig around and explore the different textures and objects.
All you need is a basket or a box where you can place these items into and you simply just add as many natural and household appliances as possible, of different textures, sizes and materials. Here are some ideas you could include into your own treasure basket:
Researchers have found many benefits from using treasure baskets, and it is one of the central resources to use with children. Babies learn about the world around them by using all of their senses – hence they love to put anything and everything in their mouths. The idea for treasure baskets was developed by educational psychologist Elinor Goldschmied more than 30 years ago.
There really is a lot of opportunities when it comes to heuristic play. It’s interesting when we look at what we may think of as mundane everyday objects, can actually keep children entertained and learning for hours, when they use their independence and creativity.