Loose parts and reuse, a cost effective and sustainable option in child care centers.

Nature is filled with some of the best “toys” that can be offered to children and as adults we also throw away a lot of manmade things that can enrich in and outdoor play. Things we believe is rubbish are the best play material children can get.

Loose parts are any collection of natural or manmade objects that can be used into children’s play. The loose parts are supporting invention, divergent thinking, problem solving, creativity and phantasy. They are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials.

Loose parts is an open ended resource, which means that it has multiple uses and limitless possibilities, there are no rules to follow, no expectations, no specific problems to solve and no pressure to produce a finished product. Children can create a purpose for open ended material and use it as they wish. Open ended materials stimulate and empower children’s creativity, imagination and fantasy and they can be used in play in many ways. Researches have also showed that open ended material is the most educational material for young children’s learning and development. To use loose parts together with open ended bought play material both indoor and outdoor will enrich children’s play.

The seven types of loose parts are:-Nature Based -Wood Reuse -Plastic –Metal Ceramic/Glass -Fabric/Ribbon –Packaging.

The theory of “loose parts” was first proposed by architect Simon Nicholson in the 1970’s has begun to influence child-play experts and the people who design play spaces for children in a big way.


The stick may be the world’s oldest toy

Children find sticks as an endless source of make-believe fun. Sticks can be turned into swords, magic wands, majorette batons, fishing poles, and light sabers. When children pretend with sticks, they cultivate their creativity and develop their imaginations. They explore as they search outdoors for just the right one. Children build with sticks, bat balls with them, and walk with them. They are the original building blocks for creative play. The stick inducted to the National Toy Hall of Fame 2008

Never underestimate the power of a stick.

To promote the use the ecofriendly material that nature offers and to reuse man made material instead of throwing it into the garbage bin is both a cost efficient and sustainable option.

Gunilla Holmberg

I am the foounder of Playtime Seychelles, Playtime Seychelles blog ,Playtime Seychelles online learning and Playtime Seychelles Safety Corner. I am also a Global Goodwill Ambassador.

Gunilla Holmberg has 11 posts and counting. See all posts by Gunilla Holmberg

Gunilla Holmberg

One thought on “Loose parts and reuse, a cost effective and sustainable option in child care centers.

  • Stephen Saunders

    Adults can benefit from creativity too — doodling with a pencil stick in “white space” on envelopes or cards; purchasing “extra space” items such as divided bins from a storage shop then finding novel ways to incorporate them into a home or small apartment; safely navigating a dark room or by feeling various grades of sandpaper to enjoy a nuance of texture or stimulate ones priprioceptors; I have used a walking stick this winter and now enjoy the freedom of not stumbling or tripping as I walk. Sticks, yes, and storage containers, and don’t forget any materiale such as bubble wrap can be useful creatively, but warning: don’t become a pack rat.

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