Take a look at contest winner Kathys new space! This is ‘Part 1’ of a large playground makeover.



Some might ask, ‘Did you just take away all the ‘toys’ and replace them with a bunch of random junk!?’ 

Yes! I did!

(Though in the field of education, we lovingly call these bits and pieces – ‘loose parts’. )

What are ‘Loose Parts’?

The term ‘Loose Parts’ was first used by an architect named Simon Nicholson who believed that Loose Parts in the environment would help to empower creativity.  This has influenced many educators and child play experts.

Loose Parts are open ended materials.

They have no specific purpose and can be used in a variety of ways.

They are:

  • Logs
  • Tires
  • Branches
  • Yarn
  • Moss
  • Napkin rings
  • Wood chips
  • Pipes
  • Stones
  • Rocks
  • Pots
  • Spindles
  • Chair legs
  • Buttons
  • Fabric
  • Bark
  • Tiles
  • Tubes
  • Pitchers
  • Crates
  • Trays
  • Funnels
  • Boxes
  • Boards

and so on!

Why do we want kids playing with Loose Parts?

When you offer children a selection of materials that can be moved and used in a variety of ways you will see magic happen.

Building, creating, problem solving, team work, planning, imagination…

It is freedom to be creative and thoughtful in their play.  Fabulous, ‘outside of the box’ unstructured play.

How do we encourage Loose Parts play?

  • Set it up as if it’s calling ‘play with me!’
  • Let play happen. Resist the temptation to interject with directions or instruction. Limit the comments like, ‘try this’ ‘lift that’ ‘put that here’ …
  • Add in new materials from time to time.
  • Give the children plenty of time to play, and space to create.
  • Provide the children with good storage bins to allow for them to help in the care of these materials. 

What are your experiences with Loose Parts play in the outdoor classroom?

Have you seen great creativity?

Thanks for reading and sharing!

❤️Right Brained Mom

Stay Tuned…Part 2 – The Little Nest Diner is up next! 

Playground Makeover Part 2 – ‘The Little Nest Diner’ – rightbrainedmom


7 thoughts

  1. Can’t wait to see the next part. This is awesome, and fits right into the online course I am currently taking on Outdoor Play Training. As always, love, love, love what you do!! Looks like your wee ones are having a blast showing how loose parts inspire creativity!!

    Liked by 1 person

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