Playing with Loose Parts

Architect Simon Nicholson developed the Theory of Loose Parts in 1972. He believed that materials which can be moved around, designed and redesigned, and tinkered with create infinitely more opportunities for creative engagement than static materials. Since then, many early childhood programs have integrated this idea into their learning environments and teaching philosophies.


What are the benefits of this type of play?

- Improves fine motor skills

- Fosters a sense of creativity

- Allows for individual or group play

- Develops problem solving

- Establishes early math skills

- Inspires scientific thinking

- Prompts rich storytelling

- Expands context-specific vocabulary

- Provides endless possibilities for play


Implementing this type of play in your home can be absolutely cost-free, and can even be a way to repurpose items that you would otherwise recycle or throw out. Here are some items that you could use:

- Scrap cardboard cut into different shapes

- Bottle caps

- Lids from puree pouches

- Old marker lids

- Wine corks

- Bolts, washers, etc.

- Fabric from old clothing

- Toilet paper rolls

- Bread tabs

- Old keys


For a full list of recommended materials, as well as further information about using loose parts in your home or classroom, purchase our ebook - now on sale for just $2.99!