The idea of ‘Loose Parts’ has influenced child-play experts and has allowed us to explore different ways children learn. Loose Parts are materials that can be moved, carried, lined up, taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. The list of possible Loose Parts is endless but can include anything from stones to sand and seashells to tyres and crates!
Loose Parts in the environment will empower the creativity and imagination of children and extend their vocabulary. Opportunities to explore with Loose Parts will promote discussion with peers and adults and help with communication and negotiation skills and encourage open ended learning where they can invent, construct, evaluate and modify their own ideas through play.
Having Loose Parts available in the play space or encourage engagement of Loose Parts when out and about will allow children to use the materials as they choose to reflect the world around them and encourage conversation based on the child’s interests.
You can collect groups of loose parts and put some in small baskets for a children to explore. You can even gather some loose parts for outside that are bigger such as sticks, bricks, and stones. You may even explore these types of objects when you are at the beach, park or woods - they are all around us.
Please note it is important to make sure that you child is playing with loose parts that are appropriate for their age and behaviour. Young children tend to put things in their mouth to explore, so some loose parts might be a choking hazard.
Ideas for small loose part play