Loose Parts Play – Is It Really A Thing?!
- Freedom – offering children loose parts means there are no rules nor predetermined outcomes of how things are ‘meant’ to be used. Loose parts celebrates the process over the product in play.
- Fine and gross motor skills – children involved in loose parts benefit from sensory play. They are encouraged to manipulate items through twisting, turning pinching and manipulating as well as lifting, maneuvering and moving.
- Creativity & Imagination – offering children loose parts play opportunities and invitations encourages and supports them in being innovative and inventive whilst fostering a sense of discovery. Providing children with paper towel rolls and sticky tape, will it become a castle, or a dinosaur, a marble game, a trumpet? The options are only limited to their creativity and imagination.
- Cognitive – loose parts play also instills critical thinking in children as they are in a situation to solve problems and implement trial and error as they test their theories.
- Social and emotional – loose parts play can be individual but can also be a team effort. Children are often seen working together as they discuss shared intended outcomes, allocate roles and responsibilities, implement turn taking and share ideas with their peers.
Now before you dive into the recycling bin and pull out a bunch of loose parts play objects, pause to take a breath. Introducing too much at once can be overwhelming and you may find your child chooses not to partake. Start small and introduce one or two things at a time as you role model how they may be used.
Here are some items you may considering introducing that you should be able to find around the house:
- Small items – gumnuts, stones, marbles, sequins, pegs and corks.
- Large items – milk cartons, tin cans, jars, tree stumps and ropes
- Domestic items – pots & pans, measuring cups & spoons and kitchen utensils e.g. spatula and whisk
- Additional items – clay, mirrors, slime, water, rice and lentils
- Collection items – Jars, boxes, trays, bottles and baskets.
Have lots of fun and please feel free to share your pictures of loose parts play!