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The Benefits of Heuristic Play for Infants and Toddlers

Heuristic play invites babies and toddlers to investigate the properties of everyday objects, such as wooden spoons, pots and pegs in their play to explore the properties of the objects - supporting their developing cognitive and language skills.

Written by: Bellbird  


Heuristic play is important for babies and toddlers as they interact with real-world objects to explore and understand the properties of the object using their senses.

It is through this interaction and exploration that they can form an understanding of the world around them.

Using everyday objects, such as wooden spoons, pots, and pegs in their play they can explore the unique properties such as identifying :

The weight of the item - is heavy or light...?

The sound of the item - is it noisy or quiet....?

The feel of the item - is it smooth or rough...?


After extensive, open-ended exploration it leads the child to understand the purpose or function of the item within their time frame; making it a very different experience to actively discovering how everyday things work.

Experiences such as these help to develop children's innate curiosity and support other vital skills including cognitive and language development.

It is easy to create 'Treasure Baskets' to encourage independent play and investigation, allowing children to make their own choices from a selection of different everyday items filled in baskets or containers that are made easily available for children.

A few tips to remember

* Ensure that there are no sharp edges or items that can be broken off 

* Items are a safe size (to avoid choking hazards)

* Supervision and hygiene are essential to keep play safe and fun!

 Treasure Basket Ideas

  • Assorted storage baskets
  • Grapat wooden pieces set
  • Wooden spoon set
  • Dust brush
  • 3 pc Utensil set
  • Silk and wooden teether
  • Scarves

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