The joys of loose parts play Recommended

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By Judith Harries

Allowing children the opportunities and time to undertake their own learning through playing with everyday objects, or loose parts, is a popular part of continuous provision in many early years settings. At home too, from an early age, the fun of emptying a box of toiletries, or playing with the packaging rather than the present, is one many parents will have witnessed. The joys of loose parts play or ‘tinkering’ are manifold and the best way to relate to them is to have a go yourself. But starting this activity off in your setting can feel a bit daunting, so here are some practical tips to get started.

Loose part play

Getting started

Try collecting some suitable resources for loose parts play (see Resources). Recycled materials are a good place to start, and don’t cost anything. Then move onto natural materials, which can also involve the children going on a walk outside to collect suitable items. Using what you already have around your setting or house is a good way to stick to the principles of loose parts play.

Tinkering trays

Loose Parts Play - Tinkering trays
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