You’d think I would have covered most of what there is to say about loose parts in two extensive posts, right? No. There is more.
There are still so many projects and creative ways to play with loose parts out there. As you might know by now, I have been collecting quite a few of them on my Pinterest board.
A number of them stand out for me for different reasons and I would like to share them with you today. All seven parents have a different approach to playing with loose parts that I’m sure will inspire you in some way.
I hope you’ll enjoy this wonderful round up of amazing blog posts by very talented people!
7 Creative Ways to play with Loose Parts
Making a light table is number one on my project list. It’s simple, easy and you can immediately see a whole new world of play/learn opportunities presenting themselves here.
See how you can easily create one yourself in this post by Tinkerlab and how children can experience loose parts in a completely different way.
Dyan from And Next Comes L is crazy enthusiastic about her light table and has more light table related posts than you can read in a day. So if you’re looking for inspiration: this is the place to be.
Just like the light table, a chalkboard is something most kids don’t get to play with every day. Or at least not a portable one like the one was made by Picklebums here.
The fact that is has such a unique background that is different in the way it feels and can be used, adds a whole new layer to your every day play.
And because you can easily wipe the chalkboard and start again, children can really flex their creativity and try out many different ideas. As this post so beautifully illustrates.
Now this is an invitation to play that is genius in it’s simplicity. We all know it to be true: take any random collection of objects, add water and dirt/sand and you’ve got yourself set up for an an amazing play experience.
In fact, while I was writing this post, my little girl came up to me to have a look at what I was doing. I pulled her on my lap and I showed her the images on Paint On The Ceiling’s blog post. “I want to do that too” she said. So we found ourselves a basket, opened up our messy craft closet, found some bits and pieces, went outside, put the hose on (luckily we were just in the process of digging up our little pathway in the garden which made for an excellent muddy ‘river’), added rocks, leaves and sticks – and voilà: a very happy child at play.
I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now but I’ve always felt a bit nervous about the little ones breaking the mirror, which is a very valid concern in my house!
I love how the mirror was taken outside and how nature became such a significant part of the play session. I’m a huge fan of playing outside because the environment has such a huge impact on children: there’s the warmth of the sun, cold of the wind, wet of the rain, sound of the leaves or sea, … There’s so much more to experience and take in and children thrive on it.
I really enjoyed reading this blog post. What I love about free and open ended play like this is that it gives you a little insight in how children perceive the world.
By playing with blocks or other loose parts, by creating small worlds, they show us things from their perspective: how they think about the animals, what they do, what they need, where they live, how they interact with each other, …
I often have to smile at what I hear my children saying and what I see them doing. And every single time they surprise me by their own unique perspective. Our little children’s minds are so open: for them, everything is possible.
I simply cannot wait to get my hands on one of those boxes and fill it with all sorts of little treasures.
I already know that my little girl is going to love this and will really enjoy collecting items. I think getting, filling and keeping the box in itself will be most of the fun for her! (She takes after her mom!)
Aside from the sensory aspect of exploring all these different materials, there are also a whole variety of activities that can come from setting up a tinker tray like this. There are a number of suggestions in this post you might want to try out like working with clay or contact paper. The possibilities are endless and while children are tinkering they’ll inevitably come up with new ideas. So keep your eyes and ears open and take your cues from them!
And here’s our very own popular upcycled inventor’s box. (Tooting my own horn!)
I can highly recommend everyone start setting up a little inventor’s box out of recycled materials at home. Get it out once in a while, and have fun!
In this post I give a great little run down of how exactly to set up your inventor’s box and ideas to play with it. Exploring the inventor’s box is all about the process and not the result!
I also wrote a post about organising an inventor’s box play date for preschoolers, which you can read here.
I hope that for those who have just recently discovered the wonderful world of loose parts, these posts have provided you with a starting point.
If you’d like to learn more, this article I wrote about the Theory of Loose Parts (where it all started!) is a must-read and you’ll love this post about the basics of playing with loose parts at home as well.
Loved this post? You can pin it here!