Exploring Loose Parts Play

‘Flowers in a village‘ – Preschoolers with glass stones, conkers, and wooden rings

We have made the most of the summer to review and reflect on our current provision. Our use of the outdoors as we introduced our children back to nursery life has been hugely beneficial: we’ve seen our little ones problem solve, communicate, and be inspired by nature in new and exciting ways.

Now that we are back with a new term, we’re excited to continue with this momentum. We want our children’s creativity to thrive, and to support this, we have introduced loose parts play.

Loose parts are collections of resources that have no pre-allocated use. As part of our continuing commitment to reducing our use of plastic – and building on our children’s growing love of nature – we have chosen to build our loose part collection from predominantly organic resources; including shells, stones, conkers, pinecones, and even crystals.

The true joy of loose parts play is the open-ended experiences they offer the children. A stone can be a stone, or an eye, or a button. A stone can be stacked into a castle’s tower, or tessellated into a pattern, or used to represent a hairbrush; a spoon; a dragon’s egg. A stone has no right or wrong way of being used, which opens up limitless opportunities for our children to use their imaginations, without fear of failure.

In the Baby Rooms, our littlest ones enjoy sensory play as they explore the various textures of the loose parts: the bumpiness of the shell, the smoothness of the crystal, the prickles of a conker husk.

For our Toddlers, loose parts provide valuable opportunities to communicate and explore symbolic representations, explaining to friends that the glass pebbles are magic, or that their conker and leaf creation is food for the mud kitchen.

Our biggest children have been using the loose parts to work collaboratively and strategise, as their imaginative plans are created, tested, and reviewed.

Loose parts play has been a fantastic addition to our provision. Due to their flexible nature, our children can experiment and create, make decisions, and develop the confidence to try new things, without worrying about mistakes.


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