Loose parts play embraces an unrestricted method of play by offering children an assortment of materials or objects that can be freely moved, manipulated, and combined in various ways. This unstructured approach stimulates children’s creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills as they envision, design, and construct using the available materials.
Here’s what you will find in the Loose Parts Play Hub this month:
Think outside the box with magnetic letters. Can you find the letters to your name? Can you find the number 3? These are the surface type questions you might ask when you first approach a magnet wall of letters, but what else do you see? What else can we observe? Children can learn much more by using these letters as a simple conversation piece rather than just a question and answer session. You might talk about colors, lines, curves, crosses, blank space, texture, size or pattern. Let your child lead the play and see what they notice first about this wall of colorful objects!
Stump table (and plexiglass box):
Did you know that, similar to the various stages in mark making, writing, or learning to speak, there are also 6 developmental stages of block play? The first is simply the act of a child carrying them around, inspecting them and feeling their weight. Children of all ages can play and grow with blocks. And not just your standard geometric wooden shapes, we can amplify and extend block play by adding extra, curious items – like nature items, lights, dolls or animals, wire or string, tubes, cardboard, tape etc. Block play offers children the opportunity to be creative and imaginative as well as work on critical and mathematical thinking and social play.
If you create something really special, don’t worry about the clean up, leave it for the next friend!
The 6 stages of block play (Ref. The Block Book by Elisabeth S Hirsch)
- Tote and Carry
- Representational Building
- Complex Building
Shelf and Stainless Table:
At first sight, adding lights to play makes it beautiful and inviting, but there is much more to it than that! Children will naturally take on an investigative approach which leads to curiosity, imagination, and inquiry. Lights can teach about power, the concept of on and off, light and dark, shadows and depth perception. Lights also inspire magic in story telling or pretend play which helps children develop social and language skills.
The shelf contains flashlights and various black cut out shapes which can be used for shadow puppet play with the flashlights or used on the light table. There is a small bucket on the top shelf with materials to create your own!
On the very bottom shelf, we have put out a few softer items with the same light vs dark storytelling theme.