Starting off your loose parts collection can be a bit daunting, especially when trying to figure out what to buy first. Let alone know how to introduce numerous loose parts into your child/ren’s play. I recommend starting with 3-4 different materials and about 10-15 items of each one. For example, 10 corks, 12 wood rings, etc
Loose parts enable children to experiment without a pre-determined outcome or a ‘right’ way to do things. First, let children discover the open-ended possibilities of the resources without adult direction. After all, the intention of loose parts is to promote imagination, creativity, and curiosity.
If your loose parts are left to collect dust, it might be time to model one or multiple ways of using them. Take a child’s interest and find a way to morph a loose part into an engaging demonstration.
A child may have an interest in baking. Take a bowl of mixed and matched loose parts. You may pretend to stir them as if you were combining all your ingredients together. Taking out the large wood buttons, you lay them out on a baking tray and place them into the play oven. Ta-da! You’re baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Yum! Or you could be frying them to make delicious pancakes.
Another example, the outdoors tend to harbour larger loose parts – tyres, planks, pipes, boxes, you name it. You may have a child who is interested in car play. Why not build a big car out of tyres, planks and boxes. It may become the perfect vehicle in their role play.
It’s important to remember there is no right or wrong way to use loose parts. Just like an artist and their painting, loose parts are open to interpretation.
If you are unsure what Loose Parts to buy or find check out my article on ‘What Are Loose Parts’ here