I consider having plenty of loose parts available at all times for play one of the most important things at school. There are so many different types, sizes, uses – the list is endless! I’m constantly on the look out for new loose parts to add to our collection at school. I love natural loose parts but I definitely feel there is a place for synthetic loose parts as well.
I like to swop in and out with different items so that there is plenty to inspire play, teamwork and interaction. One of my best buys was a set of large pvc covered colourful shapes. These are always outside and available for construction and building – whether the children are building castles, shops, firetrucks, you name it, there is a constant hive of activity as they move, build and climb. They are fantastic for developing body awareness and movement. In the past I have also provided plastic crates for holding bottles (a LOT of them!) – these are fantastic as they clip into each other and the children can actually construct whole play scenes for themselves.
In the summer months the loose parts are stored in large garden pots in a wooden frame (actually an old sandpit frame) that is often turned into some creative vessel or other. Other great items we love are: various ropes of different length and texture; pinecones; curtain rings; pegs; gutter piping and all the varying joining bits; plastic balls; pebbles in the dry creek bed – the list can be endless!