Recommended ages: 1+
Tired of those bits and pieces leftover from craft projects? Before you throw them out, consider adding them to your child’s “loose parts” collection as a way to inspire creativity.
Sarah Jackson, a CCRI Child Development Specialist and Quality Every Day coach, explains: “Being creative with loose parts is a great way for children to use their imaginations in open-ended learning opportunities.”
Working with loose parts engages children’s critical thinking and builds their cognitive and motor skills. Gathering items outside has the added benefit of interacting with nature, increasing opportunities for physical activity.
These items can be natural or synthetic. Create or expand your “Loose Parts Starter Kit” with these ideas:
Encourage children to collect loose parts, then let their imagination take the lead.
Sarah recommends keeping the items in a special box or jar. She also suggests keeping some outdoor loose parts inside for science projects, especially on days when children are not able to get outside.
Pro Tip: Customize your child’s collection consistent with his/her age, abilities, and interests.