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

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
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

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!
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