This Reggio inspired approach to play uses loose parts to spark curiosity, inspire creativity, and insight ingenuity.
Loose parts encourage open-ended play, children are free to move, manipulate, take apart, put together, re-shape and re-design as part of their play. Loose parts do not have a fixed use of instruction, children are free to use the materials alone, combined with others or move them throughout the room as they choose in a safe manner.
When engaging in this play children develop, build on and reinforce such skills as, fine/gross motor, social/emotional, math, language, literacy, science skills and more !
As educators we can support this play by creating environments where children are free to explore and become engaged in multiple learning experiences. By observing children during play, educators stand to gain an even deeper understanding of both the individual and group learning styles of the children in their care.
Finding the material
Gathering the materials needed to start is easy! Most materials can be found lying around the home, reach out to the families in your centre and the businesses in your community. Most families and local businesses are always willing to donate items. Loose parts can be natural materials like leaves, water or sand or recycled materials like cardboard boxes.
Loose parts can also consist of dry pasta, buttons, beans, pine cones, corks, etc.
Provide easy access to these materials throughout the day and occasionally replenish, change, and add to your collection.
Loose parts play insights wonder, it allows children the freedom to explore, experiment, discover, express and create new things.