Remember how a while back I did a post about ways to keep a baby entertained? (Refresh yourself here if you're curious!) One of the approaches I talked about was having a "Themed Basket." At the time that post was written, I had only done one basket for Evie. Now, a few months later, she has had a few more to play with. I thought I would share them here with you today. Be sure to comment below if you have done any with your child or if you have an idea for another basket that I could do! I use these baskets as our living room toys. She has other toys/books in her room that we will go and play with on occasion, but I don't like to have too many toys out at once. I find that by limiting what is available that Evie interacts more with what is out and experiments more with them. I often have out another bucket with some sort of blocks in it (legos, her wooden stacking train, etc.) that she can play with in the living room as well.
This was my very first basket to do for Evie. She loved it! In it I included 9 small pumpkins (they were for floral arrangements from Hobby Lobby and I cut off the wire base), Halloween colored jewels in a bottle for shaking, feathers in a bottle, a stuffed animal (an otter...we didn't have a squirrel like I had hoped to put in the basket), and an assortment of books. Disclaimer: I did not have that many books about Fall...so I pulled out any books that were orange on the cover as well :) I created this basket in October, and switched out a few of the items in November (I don't have a picture of that one though). I also got Halloween/Thanksgiving books from the library and we kept them by the basket so Evie could learn about the Holidays in that part of the year.
In December I created a Christmas basket for her! I included (pictured below) the following: star ornaments, red milk lids (which she loved to put into the container and dump out repeatedly), a Christmas tree cookie cutter and a spatula, various winter/Christmas books, and a bear that she got for Christmas the previous year (when she was itty-bitty and only 5 days old!). She also received a Little People Nativity set for her birthday (not pictured) from my sister, Michelle, so we opened it as soon as it came in. She loved playing with the pieces (mainly chewing on them) and I enjoyed singing Christmas songs to her and telling her all about the story of Christ's birth.
After having several holiday/seasonal baskets in a row, I thought I would mix things up for Evie by creating a basket full of different colors. This gave me the opportunity to identify colors for her and to really be intentional about teaching them to her. This will be one that I do again (possibly with different items) as she starts learning more. I included the following (pictured below): shaker bottles, stacking towers (the lion one is full of little cups that stack on top of one another), and lots of books on colors!
I had initially planned on doing a basket with only nocturnal animals (we have some great books with owls and bats) but I quickly realized that other than books and one stuffed bat...I didn't have anything else to include in it. I might go back and do one eventually though. I decided to do an animal themed basket for Evie and included a couple of stuffed animals (rabbit and monkey), the lion stacking tower (I wanted to have at least one developmental toy included), books on different animals/animal sounds, a cat puppet (in the top right corner of the picture), and a wooden camel (with wheels). We kept this basket out for a little over a week before changing it up. The others were out for 3-4 weeks.
I had the idea to do a baking basket because of the cutest little book that we have, The Best Mouse Cookie. Buuut, I didn't have any other books about baking, or really even cooking, so the rest of the books are just about food. Which I am 100% okay with. I included measuring cups, a funnel, measuring spoons, various cooking utensils, two shaker bottles (one with rice and one with lentils), and a container filled with macaroni noodles. Evie LOVES this basket. She has so much fun dumping out the noodles, scooping them into containers, pouring them, etc. She has a blast. I also have gotten out a mixing bowl, muffin tin, and loaf pan for her to play with along with the items in the basket.
The lower two pictures are from a couple months ago, showing a behind the scenes look into the making of a new basket. I have a big bin that I keep everything in and bring it out when I am coming up with something new. Evie loves to play in it too!
Again, please chime in with any ideas for baskets that you have, as well as any ideas for future posts that you would like to see!