Rachel Gemlo, Director of Programming
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2, 2023
Grand Opening of Loose Parts Play Hub, Presented by Amcor
MANKATO, MN – The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is thrilled to announce the grand opening
of the Loose Parts Play Hub (LPPH), presented by Amcor. On Thursday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. CST, this
transformative initiative will introduce an exciting and dynamic new way for children to explore, play, and
learn through the power of loose parts.
“Children are born with eagerness and curiosity to discover and learn. Loose parts play offers a wide variety of materials with endless possibilities that can inspire children to investigate, share, describe, be creative with, and essentially learn about the world around them. Our Loose Parts Play Hub will provide a gathering space for collecting objects both familiar and novel, it will give space to ideas large and small and inspire out-of-the box thinking. We are excited to invite the community in, to really create a space that reflects the ideas of the children!” said Rachel Gemlo, Director of Programming at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota.
As part of this pilot initiative, the Museum will transform a previous outdoor space into a vibrant and engaging
Loose Parts Play Hub within the outdoor setting. This environment will offer children unparalleled opportunities
for exploration and discovery. They will encounter the enchanting allure of leaves, sticks, rocks, and other
elements found in nature. In their hands, these seemingly ordinary objects can be transformed into tools,
building blocks, precious treasures, or catalysts for imaginative play.
By immersing themselves in the abundant wonders of the natural environment, children can connect with the
world around them. The goal is to ignite curiosity, fuel creativity, and instill within them an enduring
appreciation for the awe-inspiring marvels of nature.
“Amcor is delighted to support this innovative initiative, which naturally aligns with our passion for the environment around us, and the importance of educational enrichment,” said Jim Thompson, Amcor’s Mankato Plant General Manager. “We believe that this transformative space will provide children with endless opportunity to explore, learn, and develop essential skills that will remain with them throughout their lifetime.”
The advantages of Loose Parts Play are numerous and far-reaching:
Deepen Critical Thinking: Loose Parts Play encourages children to think critically by presenting them with
open-ended materials that require problem-solving, decision-making, and creative thinking. As they engage
with these objects, children learn to analyze, plan, and adapt their play, fostering essential cognitive skills.
Promote Divergent and Creative Thinking: By offering a diverse array of loose parts, children are inspired to
think divergently and explore multiple possibilities. They can use their imagination to transform objects into
various roles, shapes, and purposes, fostering creativity and encouraging them to think outside the box.
“Think about the saying, that children will play more with the box than with the toy they received. A box provides unlimited opportunities to activate children’s imagination, so the box can be anything, a spaceship, a race car, or a secret hideaway fort, or something that has not even been invented. Loose parts objects are so fundamental to children’s play, it’s no surprise that it is part of the Children’s Museum. In fact, The Strong National Museum of Play inducted ‘the stick‘ into the toy hall of fame; this ultimate loose part has been a favorite toy for generations of children. ” Heather Von Bank Chair, Department of Family Consumer Science, Minnesota State University-Mankato
Development Domains: Loose Parts Play caters to multiple developmental domains, including cognitive,
physical, social, and emotional areas. Through hands-on manipulation of objects, children enhance their fine
motor skills, spatial awareness, social interactions, and emotional expression.
Developmentally Inclusive: The open-ended nature of loose parts makes them inclusive and adaptable to
children of different ages, abilities, and developmental stages. Each child can engage with the materials at
their own level, promoting a sense of inclusivity and accommodating diverse learning needs.
Promote a Wide Range of Play: Loose parts offer infinite possibilities for play, ranging from building and
construction to imaginative role-playing, sensory exploration, and artistic expression. This versatility allows
children to engage in different types of play, fostering holistic development and catering to their individual
interests and preferences.
Sustainable and Economically Feasible: Loose parts often consist of recycled or repurposed materials, making
them environmentally sustainable. Additionally, they are economically feasible as they can be easily sourced
from everyday objects or natural materials, making them accessible to various settings and budgets.
About the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota: The mission of the Children’s Museum of Southern
Minnesota is to ignite the natural curiosity of every child through the power of play in a dynamic, awe-inspiring
environment. The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is the catalyst for building a stronger,
more vibrant community around play so that all children in our region share in a bright future of opportunity
Proudly Presented by:
Additional Supporting Sponsors Include: Xcel Energy Foundation, Jarraff Industries and Great River Energy.