Developing Play for the Under 3s : The Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play book cover
3rd Edition

Developing Play for the Under 3s
The Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play

ISBN 9781315686189
Published July 30, 2015 by Routledge
138 Pages

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Book Description

We currently live in a two dimensional world of tapping and sliding fingers on screens, but babies and young children need to touch, taste, smell, shake and bang three dimensional objects in order to develop thinking and learning skills.

The Treasure Basket and Heuristic play approach is all about offering natural and household objects to babies and young children to play with. This simple approach promotes extraordinary capacities of concentration, intellectual curiosity and manipulative mastery.

Full of resource ideas and activities, this book offers accessible explanations of how the under 3’s think and learn, step by step guidance for setting up play sessions and descriptions of the best materials to offer. Featuring original interviews between the author and Elinor Goldschmied, who was the pioneer of the Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play, this third edition of Developing Play for the Under 3s has been thoroughly updated to include:

    • A new chapter with case studies to show how Heuristic Play can be offered to the 2-4 year olds.
    • A new chapter exploring the myths and misunderstandings of this approach.
    • Links to the Forest School movement.
    • Research evidence supported by case studies.
    • The characteristics of effective learning and how the Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play promote these.
    • Information about the Froebel Archive project, bringing the story of Elinor Goldschmied’s work alive through film.


Based on a wealth of research into how babies learn and the principles of learning, together with the author’s own personal experience of working with the under 3s, this book will be indispensable for anyone involved in the care and development of children in this age group.

Table of Contents

Foreword  Preface  Acknowledgements  Introduction  1. A tribute to Elinor Goldschmied  2. How babies and children learn  3. The beginning of sensory and physical development  4. The Treasure Basket – ‘What is the object like?’  5. Offering the Treasure Basket  6. Heuristic Play – ‘What can I do with the object?’  7. Offering Heuristic Play material  8. Heuristic Play for the 2-4 year olds  9. Myths and Misunderstandings  10. Play with a Purpose (2-3 year olds) – ‘What can the object become?’  11. Expanding the approach  Conclusion  References and further reading

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Anita M. Hughes is an independent chartered educational psychologist and has been working in the field of Early Years for over 30 years.