100 Loose Parts

‘Loose Parts’ ‘Treasures’ ‘Bits and Bobs’ whatever you call them – they are items that are open ended and versatile, encourage imagination and creativity and are often inexpensive or free.

It’s no wonder they’ve been a favourite of educators and parents for many years!

Here are 100 Loose Parts that we love – and that are currently on our shelf.

1. Colourful Bandanas (Dollar Store)

2. Napkin Rings (Thrift Store)

3. Curtain Rings (Thrift Store)

4. Chalk Boards/Blocks (These are actually upcycled/painted old Cutting Boards – Chalk Board paint bought at Canadian Tire)

5. Old Denim Jean Pants Pockets (We donate all clothes that are in good condition to our local charity shop and upcycle as much of what can’t be donated, as possible – these pockets are so well loved. The kids use them to hide and carry rocks, buttons, cards etc)

6. Wood Burned Number Discs

7. Cork Hot Plates (Dollar Store)

8. Colourful Stones (Thrift Store)

9. Polished Stones (Dollar Store)

10. Small Sticks (Collected on our Property)

11. Large Tree Discs ( From a fallen tree on our property)

12. Hair Curlers (New in Package at the Thrift Store)

13. Ribbon ( Dollar Store)

14. Egg Cups (Thrift Store)

15. Christmas Tree Decorations (Thrift Store)

16. Branch Cookies with large drilled Holes (these will be added to my shop rightbrainedmom.shop)

17. Tweezers (Dollar Store)

18. Twine (Dollar Store)

19. Bamboo Hot Plates (Dollar Store)

20. Rope Bits (Craft Shop)

21. Large Handmade Pom-poms (these are easy to make. Check Pinterest!)

22. Colourful Handmade Needle Felted Pom-poms (I’ll be adding these to my shop rightbrainedmom.shop)

23. Cutting Boards (Dollar Store)

24. Chalk Branch Cookies (Paint the tops of tree branch cookies with chalk board paint!)

25. Battery Operated Tea lights (Canadian Tire)

26. Feathers (Dollar Store)

27. Beads (Thrift Store)

28. Golf Tees (Dollar Store)

29. Bells (Dollar Store)

30. Dice (Hobby Shop)

31. Bottle Corks (Gifted/Collected)

32. Letter Pieces (Dollar Store and pieces collected from an old scrabble game)

33. Wooden Spools (Gifted)

34. Blocks https://rightbrainedmom.shop/products/the-calm-loose-parts-pack

35. Scarves Dollar Store Cheese Cloth – DIY here https://www.facebook.com/rightbrainedmom/posts/1769845986391656

36. Twine Balls (Dollar Store)

37. Beach Glass (Craft Store)

38. Sea Shells (Thrift Store)

39. Glass Stones (Dollar Store

40. Tree Cookies (Collected/Made at home)

41. Crib Spindles (this was a crib that was being tossed. I used a hand saw and cut pieces off and then sanded them)

42. Wooden Wreath (Dollar Store)

43. Balance Boulders https://rightbrainedmom.shop/products/balancing-boulders

44. Plastic Spools (Collected/Gifted)

45. Dowel (Dollar Store)

46. Clear Mailing tubes (Upcycled mailing tubes)

47. Natural Packaging Fibre

48. Wooden Bowls (Thrift Store)

49. Felt Pieces (Dollar Store)

50. Buttons (Dollar Store)

51. Burlap Canvas (Craft Store)

52. Wooden Kitchen Utensils (Thrift Store)

53. Peg Dolls https://rightbrainedmom.shop/products/24-peg-dolls

54. Wood Burned Letter Discs https://rightbrainedmom.shop/products/uppercase-alphabet-branch-discs

55. Sock Tops ( 5 kids in our house equals many, many socks without mates)

56. Keys (Dollar Store)

57. Locks (Dollar Store)

58. Key Rings (Dollar Store)

59. Bamboo Garden Fencing (Upcycled)

60. Stumpers https://rightbrainedmom.shop/products/stumpers

61. Paper Clips (Dollar Store)

62. Jewelry (Thrift Store)

63. Handmade T-Shirt Thread (Handmade. Easy! Just make a strip cut at the bottom of the shirt and pull!)

64. Cedar Shims (Hardware Store)

65. Coffee Stir Sticks (Dollar Store)

66. Small Wooden Cubes (Dollar Store)

67. Game Pieces (Out of a few old sets)

68. Sponges (Dollar Store)

69. Hair Pins

70. Raffia (coloured and/or natural – at the Dollar Store)

71. Dresser Hardware ( Thrift Store)

72. Appliance Knobs ( Removed from old appliances at the landfill)

73. Suction Cup Hooks (Dollar Store)

74. Colourful Binder Divider Paper (Dollar Store)

75. Zippers (Thrift Store)

76. Belt Buckles (Upcycled)

77. Clasps/Snaps (Upcycled)

78. Moss (Collected on our property)

79. Milk Weed Pods (Collected on our property)

80. Acorns (Collected on our property)

81. Wooden Gems https://rightbrainedmom.shop/products/wooden-gems

82. Placemats (Thrift Store)

83. Small Animal Statues (Thrift Store)

84. Clothes Pegs (Dollar Store)

85. Round Blocks https://rightbrainedmom.shop/products/round-wooden-blocks-loose-parts

86. Small Burlap/Cotton Drawstring Bags (Dollar Store)

87. Tiny Craft Pom Poms (Dollar Store)

88. ‘Bendy Burlap’ (Add white glue water mixture to pieces of burlap and hang to dry. It’s bendy And mouldable!!)

89. Bamboo Skewers (Dollar Store)

90. Colourful Wooden Discs, Branches and Bits https://rightbrainedmom.shop/products/loose-parts-garden

91. Clocks/Watches/Timers (Dollar Store/Thrift Store/Collected)

92. Lids (Collected)

93. Picture Lids (Handmade- there’s a free printable and directions if you scroll back on the blog)

94. Small Decorative Spoons (Thrift Store)

95. Binder Clips (Dollar Store)

96. Hair Clips (Craft Store)

97. S Hooks (Dollar Store)

98. Frames (Thrift Store)

99. Felting Wool (Craft Store)

100. Large Branch Blocks (Collected/Handmade – Cut an old fallen branch into pieces. Dry it out – low temp and slow. Sand)

No, it doesn’t always look like this. This area gets pretty messy. But – there is always incredible learning and play happening here. I have found that by using many small bowls/baskets the area stays a little neater and is easier to keep organized.

Either way, it’s worth the mess. I believe that when we provide children with open ended materials (such as the ones I’ve listed in this post) we aren’t just encouraging the learning that happens naturally through play, we are also helping them to see the beauty, potential and value in everything – the small and simple things -around them. (And they help us to do the same!)

What’s on your shelf?

Questions? Ask them here or email me at rightbrainedmom@hotmail.com

Thanks for reading and sharing. ❤️

You can also find me on FB https://www.facebook.com/rightbrainedmom/

13 thoughts on “100 Loose Parts

  1. jessica

    Wow! Thank oyu for sharing, I use a lot of these but had to take note of a bunch that I wish I had thought of! Sock tops! So cool. We use elastic hair bands in our block and dress up areas but the sock tops would make for a lovely invitation.


    1. rightbrainedmom

      I’ve collected all of our wooden pieces from a variety of thrift stores.
      Some days you will find nothing, other says you’ll come home with a huge lot of goodies!
      Try posting on FB or a buy and sell maybe?


    2. Anonymous

      Depending what you want to use the wooden trays for, I use shallow drawers salvaged from bedside cabinets, coffee tables and desks as storage ontainers and also as mini tuff trays where play happens.


  2. Victoria

    This is an awesome list…..and makes me want to play! How do you get around the choking hazard though? In Australia they can be finiky and uptight about this stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rightbrainedmom

      It’s the same here in Canada. I’d eliminate any small items that could be choking hazards if I were working with children under three years of age.
      This shelf is in our home and we seem to be past the concern of choking hazards – so i personally don’t worry about the small stuff here.


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  4. Melissa Parlane

    My kids were very interested in this list but all I can see is 100,000 tiny items all over the house. On a good day, we have 1,000 bits of garbage and junk everywhere. What’s the secret to making loose parts work?


    1. rightbrainedmom

      I hear you! We often end up with ten thousand pieces on our floors too.
      The only tip that I can offer is to introduce loose parts a little at a time with the expectation of things being tidied and put back when not in play – just like any other type of toy you’d offer. (And yes, I know. Easier said than done)
      There are days when the mess is too much and I put a few things away. For the most part though, the play/learning that you’ll see from offering these materials will make the mess worthwhile. 🙂


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