Many of our most vivid childhood memories can be revived by smells or sounds. If you have a Treasure Basket you’re probably aware of its importance for providing children with much needed sensory stimulation. If you want to ring the changes and give your Treasure Basket(s) a festive flavour then follow these five simple steps for bringing some of the smells and sounds of Christmas to life.

1 Add a fresh firm whole orange, pricked first with a fork. (Be sure to check before use each day in case it needs to be removed and thrown away.)
2 Put some cinnamon sticks or cloves in an organza bag and tie securely to avoid causing a choking hazard. Children may enjoy the smell and sound when the bag is gently shaken.
3 Make a festive dried orange. Pick an orange and score with a knife from top to bottom at 1cm intervals. Put in an oven (an aga works well) on a low heat for several hours until hard and dry. Check condition frequently and replace when needed. Make dried orange slices instead. Put 2-3 in a mini bag and tie securely.
4 Put some bells in a mini organza bag and tie securely.
5 Make a mini Christmas stocking from scraps of material or felt. Simply cut a shape (approximately 3″ high) and stitch together along the edges. Knitters can make from wool instead. Watch children filling and exploring the mini stocking.

Older children are sure to have lots of ideas of festive things to add to a Treasure Basket. They may enjoy making extras too like snow ball pom poms (wrapping white wool around two cardboard hoops). If you haven’t started collecting for a Treasure Basket yet visit : http://www.playtoz.co.uk/products/collections/treasure-baskets.html for ideas of lots of different items to include and for an insight into the benefits. Have fun and remember that every time a child plays with a Treasure Basket or other sensory-rich resources they are supporting their own development and learning as well as having fun!

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