I love giving my babies discovery baskets! With Otto (pictured above) and Otis, I've introduced them at around four months of age, when the child is able to explore things well with their hands. I've found it a great way of exposing them a wide range of objects where they can use all of their senses. It allows them to experience new smells, tastes, weights, textures and colours that standard baby toys just don't allow.
I keep Otto's discovery basket on his shelves in our living area, where he is always supervised, not in his room which I consider 100% child safe. Sometimes he will explore them independently and sometimes while sitting in my lap. Otto is teething and will put all of these things into his mouth so I am very attentive and careful about which materials go into the basket and supervising him while he is using it.
Why use a discovery basket with an infant? Because even the young child wants and needs different textures. Because a connection to nature starts now. Because there are too many plastic toys advertised and sold to parents that provide limited feedback to the child. Because babies are absorbing and learning every moment, let's provide them with something worth exploring.
I think it's nice to put things with contrasting textures together - fabric with metal and wood for example.
Crochet ball, wooden ring and hand dyed play silk. Metal ring, organic cotton square and wooden egg cup. Smooth and sanded gum nut, seedpod and dried lime. Plastic scoop, metal lid and wooden ring.
You can see Otis' first basket here which included the very same play silk, a small hairbrush and a woolen ball.