Call me a basket case...
Because I totally am one! In every sense. I'm obsessed with baskets for obvious reasons, they have multiple uses, they help organize everything "baby," and they can be used for play. You can use them to organize your baby's closets, changing table, under their sinks, for their bath toys, for their regular toys, for their socks, their bibs, their hair accessories, everything! That being said, I'm going to focus on my favorite baskets for creating a thoughtful play space.
It's not just about providing thoughtful play materials but it's also about how you present them. Think of it like your clothing or your favorite meal. Would you like either of them as much if they were in a big pile in the corner? Or is part of the appeal the way they're presented? Think of a play space as an environment to be cognitively challenging (for example, providing things that fit inside one another, that go "in" and "out" - depending on the age) and that creates a "spark" for your child. Our babies deserve to be exploring in a space that feels intentional, thoughtful, looks nice, and isn't overwhelming. I've experienced what using baskets can do to invite play and encourage you to witness it too, even if it does turn you into a basket case, it's worth it. Oh and you will become obsessed with baskets if you're not already, don't say I didn't warn you!
Before I list them, some pointers on using baskets and organizing play objects and toys are:
- Figure out what your baby is into at a given moment, and then build on that. If he's enjoying mouthing a silicone ring, try providing rings of various materials and textures, or providing the same ring in different colors and putting them in a container.
- If your child seems uninterested in an object, don't put it away just yet, try presenting it differently for a few days in a row and see what happens. Familiarity can be an incentive to explore an object, so don't be quick to get rid of it or put it away.
- Rearrange the play space slightly different every few days or even each day (depending on how much time they are exposed to the same set up), go with your gut, if you think a certain arrangement is getting blah, then it probably is. The point of all of this is to trust yourself and your baby to lead the way, I'm just here to offer some suggestions :)
- Baskets add another element to play, they are vessels for collecting, dumping, and transferring which happens the closer they get to being a toddler.
- Baskets can become more than just baskets, I've seen them become hats, masks, bathtubs, all at the helm of a child's imagination.
Click here for "The Mother Basket " (a pretty basket to store all the toys when they aren't in use! I use the medium one for her toys.)
The "non chalant baskets" with handles. I love these because they're not an eye sore in the apartment or nursery and also because of the handles. The handles add another way in which a baby can engage with them. Being able to grip the handle is interesting to them. Babies love waving them around. They are also enticed to explore the contents because of the handles. I sometimes put the two small ones next to each other with hair rollers in one and cupcake liners in the other or ill put one empty one next to one with objects inside (for transferring). The small ones are my favorite of the set because you can just put 3-4 objects inside and it looks "robust" without being overwhelming. I use the bigger one to fit a few different balls inside, the baskets are shallow enough where you can see the tops of the balls inside but big enough to hold 4-5 balls. (I said balls way too many times there.
The "smooth as butter baskets." I just recently found this and love them. They come with two, so you can also have them side by side to be nesting play objects as is. They have a bit of color which is fun. They're really smooth and woven but not dangerous if they come unwoven (the way actual wicker can be sharp if becomes unwoven). They're durable and cool. I'm very into them. I usually put play objects inside and put them next to one another as a set.
The "pride" baskets. These have a hint of rainbow colors with make them playful but not tacky. The size of the smaller ones is the best. Just get them and thank me. I use the big one for her washcloths to be stored under the sink.
The "cracker jack" baskets. They remind me of peanuts at a baseball game. We have these at Union Square Play and they're shallow, objects are visible inside and they're an interesting shape.
The "recyclable" basket. I know, you're wondering what in gods name this is doing here, if you're into the DIY household item vibe, put this next to a basket of hair rollers and watch the magic.
Also, there's some other containers that are great to use as baskets, like the colanders found here.
If you want more details on their use or to see the magic of baskets, sign up for FlowPlay, the class I'm teaching at Union Square Play starting the week of September 24th!
PLEASE send me photos for any of you who become as much of a basket case as me!!! I'm like the cat lady but with baskets.