Wood chips and wood shavings are amazing loose parts available in many colors, textures, and sizes. Children invite these little hunks of wood into all kinds of play and exploration. Kids dig in them, haul them, throw them, kick them, use them as props in dramatic play and small world play, and more.
A while back I started saving those plastic rolls at the center of GeeGee and Slinky's poop bags thinking that in bulk they might make interesting loose parts. GeeGeeSlinky Since all the the two of them really do is sleep, destroy perennial plants while playing, and poop, I built up a decent collection of poop … Continue reading Loose Parts Ideas | Poop Bag Roll Cores
Biodegradable cornstarch packing peanuts are great loose parts for creative projects, dramatic play, and sensory play. (FYI: Cornstarch seems to be the preferred starch used in biodegradable packing peanuts, but soy based starch and other materials are used.) The novel thing about them is that with a little moisture they will stick together--and with a … Continue reading Loose Parts Ideas | Cornstarch Packing Peanuts
The variety of colors, shapes, textures, sizes, growth habits, and aromas make flowers interesting and engaging loose parts that draw children's attention. How can you support children's use of flowers in your play environment?
Love them or hate them, insects are a diverse and interesting loose part found in all early learning settings. One of the big challenges to engaging them as loose parts may be the attitudes of the adults involved. How can you support children's interactions with insects in your play environment? Update: The exoskeletons insects shed … Continue reading Loose Parts Ideas | Insects
Seed pods are amazing! Kids love collecting them, opening them, examining them, hauling them around, and more. If you're play environment doesn't generate its own seed pods, you can always reach out to others to haul in these engaging loose parts. How can you support children's use of seed pods in your play environment?
Caterpillars are amazing living loose parts you can invite to become variables in your outdoor play space. With a bit of research you can determine what caterpillars are indigenous to your area and ways to invite more of them to call your play space home. How can you support children's interactions with caterpillars in your … Continue reading Loose Parts Ideas | Caterpillars
Leaves are amazing loose parts because they are so variable. (Remember, Simon Nicholson defines loose parts as variables in an environment.) Not only do leaves vary from plant to plant, they very during the plant's growth cycle. How can you support children in using leaves as loose parts in your play environment?
I salvaged these sweet loose parts from a lamp that'd been dead in our basement for years. I imagine them being used in water, sand, and other sensory play. They also make effective megaphones--I tested one out by tooting rude noises at my dogs. I'm also guessing they'd be used in dramatic play, block play, … Continue reading Loose Parts Ideas | Plastic Lamp Shades
Mud--what's not to love. All around the world it is a favorite squishy, slimy, messy loose part of children.
Children are fascinated by, engaged with, and reacting to gravity every day. How can you make better use of gravity as a loose part in your early learning setting?
How can wind be used as a loose part in your early learning environment? What can you do to help children engage with it, play with it, understand it, observe it, and learn from it?