Why loose parts play is great for children

April 30, 2019

Isn’t it a joy to see children immersed in play with sticks, cardboard boxes or even dry pasta? These very simple, open-ended resources are often called loose parts and they encourage imagination and creativity - and are lots of fun!

 

While there is a lot of entertainment to be had from man-made loose parts, such as marbles, beads and laces, as an outdoor nursery, we love nature-based loose parts the most! Not only do they help children to connect with nature, but they are also a fantastic sensory experience which is fun and FREE!

 

One of the most valuable things about loose parts play is that it is not directed by adults; instead, children become immersed in self-directed imaginative play, which is great for their development.  

 

Here is a list of nature-based loose parts and some interesting ways in which we’ve found children using them:

 

Sticks - a walking stick, a lightsaber, a toy car, an arrow

 

Stones - make faces, map out a road for vehicles, used for simple maths, currency

 

Leaves - can be used in art, food, hair accessories, paintbrushes and ice creams

 

Fruit - eating, creating paint and drawing with the juices, pretending they are are jewels

 

Herbs - eating, making potions and perfumes

 

Mud - squeezing, squelching, painting, moulding, cooking

 

Water - cooling down, mixing up, drawing with, as well as freezing to make ice

 

Dirt - writing in, mixing with water, stamping in to make dust clouds

 

 

Flowers - decorating artwork, making jewellery, mixing into potions

 

Shadows - early science experiments such as running away and understanding time

 

Ice - excellent sensory experiences and understanding temperature

 

Snow - snowmen, snowballs, sledging, understanding textures and temperatures

 

Sun - watch things melt, feel the heat, shelter from and bask in it

 

Pinecones and acorns - excellent pocket treasures and fun to decorate and count with

 

Rocks - for collecting, comparing, counting, and trading

 

Seashells - exploring sea creatures, shapes, and colour/texture comparisons

 

Sand - play with it wet and dry to compare how it can be used to build things

 

Feathers - exploring bird species and feeling the silken textures with fingers and on cheeks

 

Logs - great to stack and climb

 

In early years education in particular, loose parts play can be a fantastic part of learning and not ‘just’ fun.  Counting or sorting rocks, for example, helps with numeracy - and explaining to friends the rules of the game or what is being imagined naturally develops literacy and interpersonal skills.

 

We love loose parts play! We hope you do too?

 

Please reload

Our Recent Posts

Get Outdoors for Hallow'een

October 24, 2019

Why loose parts play is great for children

April 30, 2019

Open Day for new families

March 18, 2019

1/1
Please reload

Tags

01506 650583

9 Riverside Lea, Blackburn, Bathgate, West Lothian,  EH47 7EL, UK

©2018 by Riverside Cottage Nursery