Loose parts are random, and often free materials, that have no particular purpose but can be moved, carried, stacked, altered, or combined in children's creative play. Loose parts play captures children's attention in a way that deepens focus and concentration and minimizes challenging behaviors. One of the greatest benefits of loose parts play is that you can use the same materials with a range of ages and because they are open-ended, there is no shelf life! The same materials can continue to be used in a variety of ways over an extended period of time.
Materials can include:
Why are loose parts important?
Infants, toddlers, and young children are naturally inquisitive. They learn through trial and error and by experimentation. Loose parts and other open-ended materials create opportunities for these young children to explore and investigate their properties freely.
The benefits are numerous and include social-emotional, perceptual-motor, and cognitive learning and development. Loose parts and their subsequent interactions offer children self-knowledge and play a role in a child's growing understanding of their own body and capabilities, fostering a sense of independence and self-sufficiency. Perceptual-motor learning includes the development of hand-eye coordination and other gross and fine motor skills. Cognitive learning and development are supported by the classification or growing ability to recognize differences and similarities among a variety of rich and unique materials.
Spark your child’s curiosity by letting them take the lead and explore with loose parts. Need some prompts to help take their play further?