Why Loose Parts are so Important to Childhood Play

I’m sure when you close your eyes and think of the fun you had as a child it almost always includes playing with a random object. As adults now, we’ve put a name to it. Loose Part. What is that you say? Open-ended objects and materials can be moved, manipulated, controlled, and changed while a child is at play.⁣

These seemingly directionless toys promote what is called “open-ended play”, a no-limit zone to a child’s imagination. No set outcomes, no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Compared to many of the toys we find in the store they’re not capable of being used in such a way. Makes sense as to why your child may be more interested in an empty box or rocks than the $30 toy grandma bought last year.⁣

In environments that are rich in loose parts, children are invited to discover so many different ways to manipulate and play (that’s how learning happens!!) Best part? There is no age limit, restrictions on ability or skill level. ⁣

𝗟𝗼𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝘀:⁣

•Promote Active Learning⁣

•Deepen Critical Thinking⁣

•Promote Divergent and Creative Thinking⁣

•Support Developmental Domains⁣

•Physical Development⁣

•Social-Emotional Development⁣

•Cognitive Development⁣

Where is a wild a fun place to find loose parts? In nature! From leaves, pine cones, flowers, shells, rocks..dare I say it? DIRT! There is no end to imaginative play!

Give it a try!

Collect items in your yard or park to practice counting, creating a picture or even pretend play!

The go-to publication and media source highlighting diverse children and their families in the natural world in a visually beautiful, playful, accessible, and empowering way. By blending inclusivity & culturally rich stories into your next outdoor adventure.


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