Background information on Heuristic play
Elinor Goldschmied and Sonia Jackson coined the term heuristic play to describe providing children with the opportunity to find out about objects and what can be done with them.
Heuristic play is a way of offering a group of children a range of objects to explore freely with little adult intervention. This type of activity is particularly useful in encouraging young children to engage in an activity for more than a few minutes! The term heuristic is derived from the Greek word ‘eurisko’ which means ‘serves to discover or gain an understanding of.’
It provides children with opportunities to explore objects thoroughly.
Examples of some items used include everyday objects and usual favourites such as pots and pans, spoons, metal jam jar lids,wooden spoons, bracelets, cardboard wooden boxes and tubes, Ribbon, plastic bottles and various pieces of material from scarf's to leather purses.
You can also create collections of items such as different brushes, tubs with lids for putting inside one another and stacking. Natural items, items that make a noise.
Heuristic play helps young children collect the information needed to identify and later name objects.
The role of a adult in Heuristic play is to observe, and intervene only if absolutely necessary. When treasure baskets are used in early year settings they are aimed for babies who are not yet mobile. The babies are gathered in a group on the floor and the area is cleared of any other toys so that the children do not become distracted.
Adults will be observing and taking notes on how children interact with resources , taking note on which things different children are interested in, and how they set themselves challenges, solve problems, express creative ideas and engage in thinking. You will find young children especially toddlers will be interested in the texture, shape, colour, weight , flexibility and malleability of different objects. They do this by waving things to see how they move, dropping things to see what they sound like, and banging them on a hard surface. Using their manipulative skills they push,poke,squeeze and squash different objects.
Which is all apart of them exploring and investigating.
These experiences can be easily implemented at home with your child.
How to use your Treasure basket at home
Treasure baskets are an idea introduction to heuristic play for young babies especially those who are not yet mobile.
Although there are no real instructions on how to use treasure baskets and heuristic play. Here are a few points just to consider.
Treasure baskets should be low sided baskets making it easy for your child to reach inside. You can Sit with your baby on the floor or if baby is able to sit on their own place the basket in front of them within reach. If baby is unable to sit unsupported you can place baby on your lap supporting them with the basket in front of you.
The idea is for your baby to be able to pick out the objects from the basket to explore independently, if they need help you can pick up a object hold it in your hand and bring it towards baby so they can explore. However treasure baskets are intended for no or very little direction from adults.
It is also important for you to check the basket regularly to ensure all objects are still intact and still safe for baby to use. Look to see there are no broken or sharp edges or that there is anything that may potentially become a choking hazard. Remove anything immediately that you are unsure your child should play with.
It's better to introduce this activity after baby has been feed and has had a sleep otherwise a hungry and tired baby will only become frustrated and uninterested. Move other toys away out of sight as not to cause a distraction. Treasure baskets which are used less frequently have more affect and promote more interest than a basket which is out and used continuously.
To keep the treasure basket exciting and fresh move around objects regularly you can also take away and add new appropriate objects when required. As your child gets older, you could replace the basket with a bag or box or simply just leave the items out on the floor for them to explore.
*To extend babies learning further you can name objects as he/ She holds them, for older children you can ask them questions regarding how the objects feel when they touch them are they soft/hard rough smooth. As well as helping to promote children’s attention and concentration you are also introducing new vocabulary.
You will soon find an older child will begin to investigate further and start asking questions which again develops their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
Key benefits and how Treasure baskets can be linked to the (EYFS) Early years framework.
The 7 areas of learning and development.
* Communication and language
By naming objects as he/ She holds them. Older children may ask questions or comment regarding how the objects feel when they touch them.
Helps to develop co ordination and motor skills by handling and moving objects.
*Personal, social and emotional development
Treasure baskets are referred to as open ended, they are not adult led. children are able to make their own decisions on which objects to choose there fore this promotes their independence and self confidence.
Children may retell story's using objects they find or recognize sounds in the names of objects they name.
children may use the objects to explore size, shape or number. They may count objects compare sizes by placing objects together, talk about comparisons in weight such as this is heavy this is light. etc.
*Understanding the world
Perfect opportunity for children to explore the properties of different objects textures colours etc. They may comment on natural items such as where a shell may come from.
*Expressive arts and design
Encourages creativity and imagination
They are able to explore different colours, textures. Use the objects in imaginative ways or make improvised musical instruments such as banging a wooden spoon against another object to make a noise, pretending they are making porridge using the bowl and spoon.
As well as covering the (Eyfs) Treasure baskets also allow children to pursue their own schema.
Schema s are patterns of repeated behavior key to a child's learning.
More information on Schema's can be found on our useful links page.
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