You may feel at loose ends but I want you to have LOOSE PARTS as part of your Parent Preparedness Arsenal. It’s all about being prepared—and that’s not just a motto for the Scouts it’s a GOOD day-to-day LIFE motto for parents…especially when you’re trying to get any work done!
———————————————————So what can you do?
Create PLAY packs or PLAY scenarios that’ll keep your kidlets engaged. After all, PLAY is the WORK of young children.
This comes with a CAUTION! You should not get sucked into feeling guilty about whether or not you’re entertaining your child every minute of every hour of every day. That’s not reasonable nor is it good for your child—OR YOU!
What you DO need to do is make sure your child has PLAY materials available to them. And then turn the PLAY over to them.
It’s when adults start mucking around in children’s domain that things start to go awry for them.
But there ARE adult tasks and responsibilities—like PLAY materials—that you can take care of!
PLAY materials you ask…what kind of PLAY materials? Well, if you want to keep your children engaged and curious then you want to stock your house (or maybe even your car!) with LOOSE PARTS.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, the LOOSE PARTS theory was developed by architect Simon Nicholson in 1972. Key to his idea: LOOSE PARTS are materials which can be moved –designed and redesigned…even tinkered with—taken apart, reassembled or, maybe put together in a completely different way—as a way of increasing creativity.
Early childhood educational professionals recognized the value of LOOSE PARTS as promoting the types of materials that would create infinitely more opportunities for creative engagement for children than static materials and (structured) environments. WHY? Because the more materials there are, the more children can interact!
Children learn by DOING—in fact, they crave hands-on experiences where their senses are fully utilized. Incorporating LOOSE PARTS capitalizes on these known facts. We want children to invent, to re-invent, to construct, to deconstruct, to be messy…to be creative. When they interact, explore, and discover …in other words PLAY they are also LEARNING!
The great thing about LOOSE PARTS is they have no specific rules to follow—kidlets can PLAY with them alone or combined with other materials to create something new..they’re a perfect addition for open-ended PLAY.
LOOSE PARTS can be natural or manmade.
At preschool we would include LOOSE PARTS in all areas of the classroom—indoors and out. So prepare—ahead of time—some LOOSE PARTS play packs for your kiddo.
●Boxes of all sizes and shapes
●Pine cones &/ leaves
●Beads—wooden and pony
●Tubing—Plastic and cardboard
●Rope or Twine
●Lids and bottle tops
●Fabric squares or scarves
●2x4s or planks
●Cards & envelops
●Stamps & Stickers
●Tires…the ideas are limited by your imagination.
*Supervision required with some of these items if using with young children as they could pose a choking hazard
LOOSE PARTS and open-ended PLAY are a child’s laboratory—it’s the ideal setting with ideal materials for child-directed, child-led PLAY. Again, that does not mean there’s not an (important) adult or parent role! Adults/parents have very intentional roles! They need to prepare and be available to navigate (vs direct) open-ended learning experiences.
Start collecting STUFF! Then add it to your child’s PLAY spaces and see how they incorporate it…will they make use of it in a dramatic PLAY context or will they use it to further their creative process? The wonderful thing about LOOSE PARTS is the way your kidlet uses it may change from day to day!
NOW, let’s let them get to work (and by this I mean PLAY) so you can get some of your work done!
Share some of the ways your child made use of LOOSE PARTS!
Yours in PLAY!
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