Treasure Basket: Primary Colors

A few weeks ago, I decided to change our treasure basket to reflect the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) over the next few weeks. The plan is to have just one color in the treasure basket for two weeks and then switch to the next color. The last two weeks were red and yesterday I put out a yellow treasure basket. (BTW – I only keep one treasure basket out at a time.) After the two weeks with the yellow treasure basket are done I’ll set out a treasure basket filled with blue items.

The point of having a treasure basket filled with just one color at a time is to introduce the child to that color in a variety of materials.

When I present the activity, I set the basket on the mat and tell Joey that, “This is a red treasure basket. Everything in this basket is the color red.”

Then I set the basket to the right side of the mat and begin to take the items out of the basket one at a time. As I take each item out of the basket, I say what it is “This is a red flashlight” and then briefly describe the object. I do this with each object until they are all on the mat. Then, I invite Joey to discover the objects on his own.

After this the treasure basket is left on the shelf and he takes it out when he wants to work with it. Every few days I’ll pull the basket out again and repeat the above process, so that he can hear the name of the color and associate it with what the color looks like.

Here is what our primary color treasure baskets look like:

August 22-27 056

Red Treasure Basket

Yellow Treasure Basket

Yellow Treasure Basket

Treasure Basket: Blue

Blue Treasure Basket

For Extension 1 on this activity, after each of the two weeks I’ll set out a treasure basket with objects of all three colors. Repeating the process above, I’ll emphasize the different colors of each object. For this basket, I’ll put in 4-5 items of each color making sure they are the same objects that were in the original treasure basket of their color.

For Extension 2, I’ll take a 2-3 items of two colors from the treasure basket and put them into a smaller basket as well as two sheets of paper (laminated) that correspond with the two colors. The goal of the extension is for the child to sort the objects by color and setting them on the correct sheet of paper.

For Extension 3, I’ll do the same as Extension 2 but add all three colors from the basket (2-3 items of each color) and the corresponding sheets of paper. So then, the child will be idenifying and sorting colors by object.

4 comments… add one

  • Aimee August 3, 2010, 7:00 pm


    This is a really cool idea and I love how you were able to find so many things in the primary colors. How old was Joey when you did these activities?

    That’s the thing about a lot of the infant/toddler Montessori activities, I can’t tell if my daughter (almost a year now) is old enough. We made her a treasure basket, and she loves to explore it, but I don’t know how much to expect. (I’ve never been around kids before Emma, so I’m not sure what to expect in any situation!)

    Please email me a response, if you can. I don’t know if your website will tell me you responded to my comment.


    — Aimee

    • Jessica August 29, 2010, 7:28 pm

      Aimee – I’ll send you e-mail soon.

      I started the color treasure baskets when Joey was about 10 months (and to be honest, I never got around to all the extensions I originally planned). As for gauging if your daughter is ready for a certain activity, I say just try it out and if it maintains her interest then go for it. Sometimes activities may still need a bit of tweaking to suit each child at their level or just put away for a later time.

      As for not knowing what to expect let her explore with different activities and through that you’ll begin to see what her abilities are and then can gear activities toward that with something not too easy, but not so challenging that it frustrates her.

      Hope that helps!

  • Alison Bhraunxs July 28, 2014, 5:14 am

    I love your idea for these baskets and can’t wait to start searching through our things for the colours! I’ve made a link to this post in my new blog, I hope you don’t mind, please let me know if it’s a problem.

  • Vanessa Romero July 3, 2015, 11:07 am

    Love this idea! What other activities do you recommend for a 13 month old? My daughter is walking now and I want to find fun learning things for her to do.

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