One of the challenges we have faced in recent times was the advice by Public health due to Covid to remove all soft toys, and any items that are hard to clean, such as those with intricate parts. We therefore had to ‘strip back’ resources and think outside the box with the equipment we used in nursery.
Being able to draw upon our skills and knowledge of children’s interests and furthering development in a variety of ways we ensured that our large ‘loose parts’ resources were plentiful. Loose parts are materials and resources that have no pre-planned use. They are both natural and man-made, they can be bits and bobs from around the house including pots, pans, spoons & pegs and in particular objects from nature which remain the finest source of loose parts and excite all of children’s senses.
The use of Loose parts in nursery is endless. It encourages children’s imagination & creativity as open ended resources can be used as anything, giving free reign to their creativity. The development of both large & fine motor skills are promoted when using the objects as the children can build, manipulate, move, control, design and redesign, continually changing the direction of their play.
The practitioners with the nursery have a unique role during loose parts play. They need to observe and support rather than joining in or controlling the direction of play otherwise the children’s natural creativity can be stumped and they could easily lose interest.
The endless play opportunity of loose parts can be easily recreated at home with simple resources such as boxes, stones, shells and household objects. Children will play for long hours with the simplest of materials.
Think about how many children, when given a toy, prefer to play with the box that it came in!