We are constantly looking to enhance the children at Stepping Stones play and learning opportunities. We have been adding ‘loose parts’ to our environment in order to facilitate this; children love to explore and utilising loose parts enables then to extend their play and imagination. A bottle top can be an apple, a piece of treasure, an elephant; in fact, it can be anything the children desire, and this is one of the reasons we love loose part play. Loose parts play is by no means a new phenomenon as the extract below shows:
“There is evidence that all children love to interact with variables, such as materials and shapes; smells and other physical phenomena, such as electricity, magnetism and gravity; media such as gases and fluids; sounds, music, motion; chemical interactions, cooking and fire; and other humans, and animals, plants, words, concepts and ideas. With all these things all children love to play, experiment, discover and invent and have fun. All these things have one thing in common, which is variables or ‘loose parts’.” (Nicholoson, S, 1972).
It is easy to forget that children have a natural curiosity and adults around them are often guilty of making their agenda the children’s. By providing as many loose parts as we can, we aim to improve children’s language and understanding by channelling their natural curiosity. Below follows a list of loose parts:
Gas and fluids
At Stepping Stones, we don’t claim to offer all of the above, but we do aim to do the best we can and we are constantly revisiting and revising our environment and what we offer.
Our children are given opportunities to explore and dig in both sand and mud; who knows what the pirates may have left behind…
Who doesn’t love a cardboard box; they offer unlimited scope for imaginative play…
We would be silly not to utilise our fabulous garden and we encourage the children to explore, touch and smell. With the addition of water from our water butt, you have a dinner, or a magic potion, or a…who knows?
We have recently added tyres to our nature garden for the children to explore and use as they desire and we are always striving to improve what we currently offer. We currently provide:
We probably offer many more besides, but would love your thoughts and ideas and donations, if applicable, to provide even more. We would love to know your thoughts!