Why is loose parts play important?

child playing loose parts play

Loose parts play is becoming a popular term when talking about children and play. The benefits of loose parts play to children’s development include imagination, creativity, physical health, fine and gross motor skills, behaviour, cooperation, communication, teamwork, and concentration. But what is loose parts play?

Loose parts play is the self-guided play of a child using materials to express creativity through play. These variable materials are transformed and manipulated by children so they can experiment and create through play.

So, it is children playing with a variety of materials how they want and using them how they want. The key with loose parts play is that it is child-driven and not guided or influence by adults. It has also been described as messy, because there are so many materials and objects for children to play with.

Probably the simplest way to explain the beautiful play that can happen when you provide a child with loose parts is through the use of a box.

Have you ever given a child a large box and watched them play?

It quickly becomes a car, train, plane, or truck. A cubby, house, or cave a horse, cow, or boat. A submarine or grocery store. The options are endless, and it all starts with a box. Give that same child a box and a big bag of materials then the play is only limited by that child’s interests and imagination.

What types of materials could you use for loose parts play?

If you are interested in some of the objects that can be used for loose parts play then Nature Play Queensland have a great list of items that can be used. If you have a Reverse Garbage facility near you, they are an amazing source. It is amazing what can become part of play when allowed.

Want to find out more? Don’t worry we are going to do another blog post soon on how to start incorporating loose parts play into your playground. Or contact us today to take a look at your space to determine where would be the best location for loose parts play in your school and how to store them.