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Encouraging creativity and innovation through 'Loose Parts' play

- October 11, 2017

Murray House toddlers have been exploring found objects and loose parts available in their environment.

'Loose parts' consists of materials that can be moved, taken apart, and put back together again in multiple ways, used to create patterns/designs, redesigned, combined and carried to wherever children desire.

The theory of 'Loose parts' was first proposed in the 1970s by an architect called Simon Nicholson, and has recently begun to influence the approach to design of playspaces for children. 

The aim of providing loose parts is to provide materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials. Loose parts play provides a wider range of opportunities  for children to use more creativitiy and imagination than using specific play equipment. 

In providing loose parts in our education environments we recognise that a play environment that allows children to develop their own ideas and explore their world is infinitely more stimulation and engaging than a static one. 

At Murray House, the toddlers have been using loose parts in a collaborative effort to reconstruct a “tunnel for the cars”. Previously, the tunnels were built in the sandpit, so one child suggested the new idea of building the circuit on the hard ground instead. Curious to observe how this would unfold and conduct experiments, his peers agreed to help construct a three layered structure using the milk crates, followed by balancing the longest pipe, and extending it by fitting smaller ones at its ends.

 

At first one child placed a short, flat piece of pipe across the top of the crate before the steep tunnel, but the children soon discovered that the cars remained stationery or required a push.

“It’s not going” said one child. “No, it’s not working” affirmed the other.

 

So, the short pipe was placed on the ground right after the tunnel. One of the children was very proactive with holding and evaluating the stability of the long tunnel balancing against the crate, while his peers were trying to alter the course of the circuit at the bottom. The children took turns experiment with the changing circuits and gave feedback to the others. 

For more information about our early childhood education and care programs for toddlers, see here.

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