Experts in the early childhood field point towards the value in outdoor play and open-ended dramatic play. One growing trend that combines both pillars is the incorporation of loose parts into early childhood environments. Loose parts can be anything from spare tires to wood pieces. The benefits of including loose parts on playgrounds are:
§ Children become the creative masterminds of their own environment, allowing for a degree of independence and initiative.
§ Students are encouraged to work together to innovate and problem solve.
§ The materials give children age-appropriate challenge, as each age group uses the loose parts in different fashions.
§ The play expression is unique each day as students explore and pretend new adventures.
Check out these great resources on loose parts:
§ Let the Children Play blog post on the Theory of Loose Parts
§ Pinterest Page on ECE Loose Parts Play
§ Museum Notes blog post on Playing With…Loose Parts
What do you think about the inclusion of loose parts on preschool playgrounds? How do you think children and parents would respond to loose parts? What are some ideas and/or best practices you have to share regarding best practices?