If you aren’t familiar with the idea of loose parts it’s the idea that giving kids groups of loose parts ( branches, logs, rocks etc..) they can create their outdoor play space instead of being limited by the playground designer’s imagination . I absolutely adore this and at our church playground that doubles as a Waldorf school playground they have been engaging in this for years. Just as I was reading more about this the very same day I came into my son’s preschool class and they’d done a huge class project with loose parts as well. Seeing how much my son adored it I knew we have to get some for the playroom. This is a fun variation for those of you with no yard, lots of rainy days and small spaces. For a more colorful take with different materials check out this post by The Imagination Tree .
- Gather your materials. We got these bins at the dollar store and gathered the materials over a few weeks. We have some cardboard, empty ribbon spools, corks, glass beads, card board tubes, rocks, cupcake liners, popscicle sticks and shells.
- I present the parts and that’s it. This is in NO way adult directed. It’s completely open .
- My son started with corks who he told me were guards for a secret temple.
- We’ve done this a handful of times and he always seems to have a lot of symmetry in his creations. I find it fascinating because I have a deep desire to make everything symmetrical.
- We usually leave the creation up for a few days and he adds to it , changes things around and generally it’s rather dynamic. This one we did in the playroom for the photos ( way better light) but we usually do it in the dining room with a taller table so my daughter can’t get at it and it’s small parts. What’s nice though is you can use whatever loose bits you have so if you want to do this with a younger child just use whatever is safe for them. I will often just grab the toilet rolls while i am cooking at sit my daughter on the floor and she builds with them.
There is so much learning going on in this activity I seriously get giddy watching my son think. Creativity, balance, fine motor, imaginative thinking… all with things we had around the house and a few dollar store bins . Not bad. When it’s not being played with I stack the bins and pop them under the bathroom sink.