Loose Parts Play

Loose parts play is quite simply exactly how it sounds.

Basically any loose parts can be played with! Now I’m not talking loose parts of a plug or anything like that.

No I mean things that can be carried, moved, manipulated, lined up, stacked etc.

There is a theory behind loose parts play that it can empower children’s creativity.

Loose parts can be manmade or natural, for example;
  • Stones
  • Sticks
  • Leaves
  • Cotton wool
  • Fabric
  • Boxes
  • Ribbon
  • Sand
  • Bark
  • Fabric
  • Balls
  • Shells
  • Dry or cooked pasta
  • Baskets
  • Containers
See, it can be anything! 

As these items come with no instructions, its really up to the child what they choose to do with them, this is where they can let their imaginations run wild. They could make a construction site with the sand and twigs or a mermaids island with the shell. 

Its all about exploring different textures and shapes and seeing what fits and what goes together and what doesn’t. it about getting back to basics and just having simple fun. Literally anyone can do this, you could raid your sewing box for buttons and thread, or you kitchen cupboards even your garden. 

Loose parts play can be used in anyway the child wants, it encourages creativity and develops more skill and competence than most modern plastic toys, there is never ending learning opportunities! And given the choice most children choose to play with items like the above than manufactured toys!
So go on why not pull out the picnic blanket in the living room and have four or so baskets or containers full of buttons, thread, wool, shells or jump in the sand pit with all of natures best natural toys, leaves, twigs, stones etc.

I created a box of my own for my daughter, it included;

  • A small bottle,
  • Stickers
  • Glitter glue
  • Shells
  • Plastic googly eyes
  • Some material
  • Pen

By the time my daughter had finished playing with the loose parts, she had stuffed the material into the bottle pulled then pulled it out and decided to put the buttons in instead where she realised if she shook it, it made a funny sound, she had glued the googly eyes to the shells and glitter glued the material and had drawn on it as well as adding the stickers onto everything!

This activity held my daughters attention for almost a full hour! And gave me a little break, although all I did was watch in awe of what she was making!


  1. This looks like a great little idea. I'm up for anything to keep M's attention for longer than 5 minutes. :-) #binkylinky

  2. Fab idea! Anything that stimulates a child's imagination is perfect for play :) #binkylinky

  3. Great idea looks so much fun thanks for linking to the Binkylinky

  4. I do the same with my twins, but use a muffin tray. It's great to see what they come up with by using their imaginations. Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

  5. That looks like a great idea x #binkylinky


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