I am a huge fan of loose parts for a couple of reasons;
- They encourage creativity – if you give five children a basket of pebbles, a bucket of twigs, and a collection of old keys they will all find different ways to use the items.
- They are easy to gather – loose parts are usually natural or recycled. They won’t cost you a lot of money and often the children can be involved in collecting them, which motivates them to explore these items after they’ve been gathered.
- They fit into so many different centers – use your loose parts as counters in your math center, materials for exploring weight/volume/mass in your science center, collage materials in your art center, and building details in your block center. The same collection of loose parts can go a really long way!
- They let children be in charge – the very best thing about loose parts is that there is not a right or wrong way to use them, so children really have the opportunity to plan their own experiences, carry them out, and then reflect on them.
The rest of my posts this week will be all about loose parts, everything from where to find them to how to organize them. Before we get into all of that though, I wanted to share one of my favorite loose parts photos – this is a great one that I captured in my classroom: