Emergent Curriculum

What are Loose Parts? By Mandy

By March 2, 2020 No Comments
A group of different baskets with loose parts.

A small collection of natural loose parts.

Loose parts are materials with no fixed purpose that can be moved around and manipulated by children. They can be used in a variety of ways and are what we referred to as an open-ended material. The reason I like loose parts is that they provide opportunity for children to spark their imagination and creativity while playing and learning.
Loose parts can be natural or synthetic in composition. Some examples of Natural loose parts include: rocks, sticks, shells, seeds, pine cones, leaves, grass. Synthetic loose parts are often recycled and reusable items such as: containers, milk jug lids, tires, PVC pipes, nuts and bolts.
Loose parts encourage open-ended learning. Open-ended materials, environments, and experiences encourage problem-solving and are child centered. Children involve themselves in concrete experiences using loose parts, which lead to explorations that occur naturally, rather than adult directed. However, adults prepare, guide and document open-ended learning experiences for the children.
Children so often enjoy bringing you materials, such as rocks, grass and dirt. They are so curious about all these things, and some may even add these ingredients to a recipe they are making in their play/mud kitchen. They may also explore and make connections by bringing pretend food from the dramatic play area to the block area. They are being creative and using their imagination. When children are encouraged to integrate play materials and areas in their own creative ways, they are exploring open-ended learning as well as play based learning.
Loose part provide endless opportunities for creativity, imagination, problem solving, fine motor and gross motor skills, and so much more!