Loose Parts

February 09, 2018

This term Emily and I have been learning about loose parts.  Loose parts are safe play items which are open ended and the most common ones we see are cardboard boxes, sticks and an old bed sheet.  These items don’t come with an instruction booklet and children have a seemingly innate drive to explore them from the youngest of ages.

The winter was coming to a close but the wind chill, snow and rain was really restricting outdoor play.  We felt that fidgety children needed a new challenge to inspire their playful imaginations.  Starting with a box of 200 plain wooden blocks, about the size of the palm of your hand, we stood back and watched the process begin.

Some children dived into questioning, exploring, giving it a go.

“What is this for?”

“What can I do with this?”

“There are lots!”

Others watched, imagined and considered.

Over the course of the evening the children joined together to build the tallest tower they could achieve.  The children giggled with anticipation of the falling bricks and it did topple several times, which spurred the children into starting again – discussing ways of building it stronger and taller.

We were inspired by the perseverance, joy, engineering capabilities and mathematical language used by the children during their play and this was our light bulb moment into the learning opportunities of loose parts.  Our journey into loose parts has began and I doubt we will look back.


“Look at my house!”


“Look what we’ve built!”








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