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WHAT IS LOOSE PARTS PLAY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Allowing and encouraging young kids to play with loose parts encourages problem solving, deep thinking, and imagination, and it allows children to grow and strengthen their natural creativity! If you talk while you play, you’ll help your little one build school readiness skills in a variety of areas: language and storytelling, math, physical science, and art.

SING A TISKET, A TASKET, THEN GRAB YOUR BASKET AND GET STARTED! 
WHAT TO GATHER

One great thing about loose parts play is that you don’t need to buy anything, it’s all about finding things outside or in your home and using them in new ways. Loose parts are objects from nature or your house that give you unlimited opportunities to design, create, knock it down, and rebuild. Loose parts play can be done on a tabletop to develop fine motor skills. Use baskets, plastic bowls, or empty egg cartons to gather and sort. 

OUTSIDE

Look for stones, pebbles, small sticks, sticks, acorns, or pinecones.

INSIDE

Gather things like recycled yogurt cups, buttons, bottle caps of all colors and sizes, empty thread spools, straws, or empty paper towel tubes. Set aside baskets or bins to build your collection. Add a mirror for a fun surface to build on. 

Loose parts play can also build gross motor skills if you turn a pile of large sticks or the couch into a fort, or by making paths with pillows or outdoor markers with anything you find.

WHAT TO TALK ABOUT WHILE YOU PLAY
  • I wonder what you will do with these?

  • Can you use these objects to make something new?

  • How can you arrange these pebbles to make the letter A?

  • Can you use these materials to show me whether 6? How about 10? Which is more?

  • Can you line up these caps to make a pattern? Red, yellow, red, yellow. 

  • Show me how you count the buttons.

  • What will happen if we stack these? How high can we build?
LEARN MORE

Watch a YDL storytime on YouTube and sing along! There’s a new live storytime each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday morning. 

Find more loose parts ideas, including how to turn your loose parts into Andy Goldsworthy style art on the Summer STEAM page. 

SUMMER CHALLENGE SECRET CODE

DESIGN

READ ON HOOPLA

Four of Miriam Beloglovsky’s Loose Parts books are available on Hoopla, or at the library. Check one out for more great ideas.