This words derives form the Greek word 'eurisko' meaning 'I discover'. It is used to describe an intuitive way of meeting challenges and solving problems - which is what children do when they are engaged in Heuristic play.
Heuristic Play is appropriate for toddlers from 12 months on wards while Treasure Baskets are more suitable for non mobile babies. The activity consists of offering a group of children a number of different kinds of objects and receptacles with which they play freely without adult intervention. The activity should be timetabled into the daily/weekly routine, ensuring that children have sufficient time to fully satisfy their curiosity about the resources.
They will follow their natural inclination to pick things up and explore what they feel like using their fingers, hands, feet or other body parts of their bodies. They will be interested in texture, shape, colour, weight, flexibility and malleability of different objects. They can wave things around to see how they move, drop them to see how they sound. Using manipulative skills they can push and poke, squeeze and squash, pull and twist the different objects to see what they can do with them. Children can explore and investigate in their own way, applying their own creative ideas and building on their own experiences.