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12 Meaningful Ways to Play with Loose Parts

12 Meaningful Ways to Play with Loose Parts

What are loose parts?
Loose parts are a collection of simple, versatile, open-ended materials. They can be manipulated, transported, transformed, and used as creative representations of ideas. They inspire creativity, imaginative thinking and build on children's skills and creative development.
    
How do you play with loose parts? 
Little Earth Toys' loose parts are designed with this kind of play in mind. They are the perfect size to hold and are a staple in every playroom. There's no set way to play with them, and that's the point! Simply scoop them up, and see where your imagination takes you.

1. Pattern-Making

Pattern-making is an early form of maths. Learning about patterns helps children understand rhythm, repetition, connections and builds on reasoning skills. Loose parts are brilliant for fostering mathematical thinking and building a life-long learning of maths!

2. Small World Play

Photo by: afamilygift
As children grow their imaginations do too. Loose parts transform from the perfect toys for grasping to creative figures in small world play. Symbolic play comes to life as children explore people, relationships, and their place in the world. 

3. Cooking

Loose parts for cooking 
Have you ever noticed that play food is always too big to fit into little pots? Little Earth Toy Rings make excellent ingredients for a special pasta dish. 

4. Building  

Loose parts make the perfect construction toys. What’s all the fuss about building towers? Well, it’s the perfect recipe for developing early language and motor skills.

Photo by: our_small_adventures
Stacking the rainbow cups and tubes in the photo above requires both hands to explore, hold, release, and place the object. The child is working on their depth perception, and hand-eye coordination as they explore where their body is in the space. It is also the perfect opportunity to explore language concepts including colours, top/bottom, and following directions. 

5. Counting 

Counting with coins
The best way to learn how to count, is to use counting skills in a variety of meaningful ways. The Little Earth Toys rainbow coins set is perfect for number recognition, number identification, and developing matching skills. Download our free counting cards here.

 6. Sensory Play 

Photo by: the.watson.four
Sensory play stimulates all the senses and loose parts are the perfect addition to any sensory base.  Scoop, pour, build, and explore. Research shows that sensory play helps to build nerve connections in the brain's pathways too!

 7. Hide and Seek

Photo by: my.dearest.sons
Learn about object-permanence and strengthen coordination and motor skills with a simple game of hide and seek. 

8. Sorting

 Sorting loose parts by their similarities and differences helps children develop a range of thinking skills and builds on the foundations of problem-solving. Have a go at sorting by shape, colour, size, or type.

9. Threading & Stacking

 

One of the favourite ways to play with the Little Earth Leaves Set is simply threading and stacking. Thread the rings onto the leaves, or build a tower with the coins. This activity is perfect for winding down or practicing mindfulness. 

10. Simple Pictures 

Create simple pictures with loose parts. Perfect for self-regulation and story-telling.  

11. Posting

 

Posting and dropping objects is a favourite game for all ages. Try creating a DIY posting box with the Little Earth Toys packaging and loose parts collection. A simple posting activity can help develop dexterity, concentration,  perseverance and strengthen children's ability to rotate objects. 

12. Currency

 

Wooden coins are a perfect way to learn about basic money concepts. Set up a shop and practice purchasing and giving change to the customers. The best part is children can strengthen their maths skills and understandings, all while having fun. 

So how do you play with loose parts?

The simple answer is anyway you imagine. Hold them, spin them, build with them and post them. Loose parts are a simple design that invites creativity and exploration. 

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