What are they and why do we use them?

First of all, you are probably wondering what we mean by loose parts. Loose parts are any objects that can be changed, moved, redesigned and put back together again in different ways. Pinecones, buttons, feathers and twigs are all good example of loose parts.

One of the activities set up for children using loose parts

There are many benefits to loose parts. Loose parts broaden the imagination, encourage maths, independence and communication skills. For example, using the activity pictured above, children have to communicate and problem solve to figure out and complete the number activity, this involves talking to peers and using mathematical skills.

We support loose parts play in nursery by using loose parts in our activities and allowing children to freely explore different and new objects everyday. We model using loose parts to children by joining in and playing alongside them. We also encourage children to correctly store loose parts back in their designated storage spaces when they have finished playing to ensure we preserve them so we can play with them again and again.

We also have lots of loose parts in the garden area too and encourage children to use these when outside. These parts are not as small as the ones indoors and definitely require some adult initiative. Outside children will find ties, crates, ropes, wheels, bricks and big stones. We do encourage children to be extra vigilant when using these objects outside.

The best thing about loose parts is they can become absolutely anything and the possibilities are endless. Children have hours of fun using the parts to make dens, bridges, towers ect… Loose parts are never out of date when is comes to the children’s imaginations and that is why they they are so important to us at Little Rascals.