Spotlight on Loose Parts

I first became acquainted with the idea of loose pieces from a Reggio facebook group. Loose parts, architect Simon Nicholson argued, let kids engage in open ended, experimental play. These parts can be used to build, be taken apart, carried around, and used to build something totally new and different. They are the ultimate open end toy.



For the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about different types of loose parts and how we use them in play around here.

I’m going to start with a completely subjective breakdown of loose parts in some general categories, today, just to give you some ideas. I plan on adding in great ideas as they occur to me, so check back as I create the Ever Expanding List of Loose Parts. 

  • Natural Loose Parts
    • Sticks
    • Rocks (River rocks, polished rocks, pebbles, really any rocks)
    • Shells
    • Pinecones
    • Seedpods (Gum stickers, Alder catkins, etc)
    • Branches
    • Flowers/Plants
    • Nut Shells
    • Driftwood
    • Leaves
    • Flowers
    • Dried Spices
    • Sand
    • Bark
    • Corn Cobs
  • Natural Material Loose Parts
    • Wooden “Cookies”
    • Wooden Beads
    • Wooden Knobs
    • Glass Knobs
    • Sea glass
    • Corks
    • Glass tiles
    • Glass filler blobs
    • Wool Roving
    • Wool Locks
    • Wool Yarn
  • Big Loose Parts:
  • Small Loose Parts
  • Recycled Loose Parts
    • Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Tubes
    • Jar Tops
    • Jars
    • Squeezy Pouch Tops
    • Old Marker Tops
    • Bottle Caps
    • Cardboard boxs and packages
    • Easter Eggs
    • Shower Rings
    • Velcro Curlers
  • Kitchen Loose Parts:
  • Food Loose Parts:
    • Beans
    • Lentils
    • Pasta
    • Cool Whip

This post contains affiliate links. These when you use our links to purchase an item we make a small commission at no cost to you, which helps cover our hosting fees and lets us keep blogging. 

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