Updated: Apr 3, 2021
Hi my name is Leona, Mum of 3 year old Xander and 6 month old Ezra. I lived and taught in Liverpool before making the move to West Yorkshire with my husband and son and now work as an Early Years leader in a two form entry school. I also run the schools nursery. My current school transformed my teaching career and my approach to parenting. The school was on its journey to becoming a Reggio inspired school and it’s honestly something I had never experienced. It was a complete child led approach to learning, stripping back the pressure and allowing children to set the planning based on their interests. The biggest impact came from a concept of “Loose Parts” something I wasn’t familiar with. It is basically giving children resources for open ended play so that their imagination is enhanced. We set up a loose parts area and the creativity from the children was something I’d never experienced before from children as young as 3. A lot of people reading this will have very young children and this approach to play and exploration can be introduced from birth. For young babies,it could simply begin with a sensory basket full of natural or sensory objects that intrigue the child. You can create these lovely baskets easily and could even have themed baskets whilst your child is developing their understanding and language.
LOOSE PARTS PLAY
Ive attached this lovely PDF booklet that explains the concepts of Loose Parts and it’s benefits.
As your child gets older, your resources could be pretty much anything. Charity shops are great for items that provoke curiosity. One of the resources we would have in our loose parts area are these wooden pegs. These pegs are used by children to represent people, animals, bridges, fences, spoons for stirring, pattern making and more. If you give a child a toy fire fighter, that’s all they see it as, give them a wooden peg, a shell or a beautiful pebble and watch as they create a wonderful narrative. Here are a few of the creations from our loose parts area....
Loose Parts is easy to incorporate into your child’s play at home. Its a great way to enhance early language skills and to allow children to imagine and create. Put the resources in pretty, accessible baskets that are inviting to the child. This encourages them to explore them independently.
If you are using loose parts, make sure the resources are appropriate and that they don’t pose a choking risk to your child. Here is a list of things you could have in a Loose Parts Area (as long as it is age appropriate to your individual child) As your child gets older you can add more.
A range of materials
Large Glass pebbles (child friendly, you can buy these online)
Dried fruit (if your child is a baby let them explore it under supervision)
*Colourful large pasta for older children (TKMax have a wonderful range)
And finally a lovely video that reminds us of the important of childhood....this always makes me emotional
I hope sharing this really fun and modern approach to learning is helpful and gives you the confidence to experiment with loose parts. I’ll be returning to work soon and will be sharing our learning approach on my Instagram page, please feel free to have a nosey @mumofwildthings