Get Creative With... LOOSE PARTS

I often think to myself - how did Instagram become a place for teachers, early childhood educators and parents to turn to for lesson plan and activity ideas? It really is amazing! There are so many brilliant accounts you can follow for daily inspiration. Or search specific hashtags if you're looking for something in particular. You could also get some motivation from accounts such as Get Creative With who have weekly theme prompts. (You may remember I was a guest just for Early Learning 101's scissor theme - and I blogged about it here.)

This week I got to choose the theme "Loose Parts" for our insta-community to "get creative with" and there were some fantastic ideas, but I'll share those later in the post.

Tinker Tray from Invitation to Play

There's no right or wrong way to play with loose parts, but there are endless possibilities. They are great for fine motor development and learning mathematical concepts such as sorting, patterning, shape and colour. It encourages creativity and there's no right or wrong like with a pencil on paper - the creations are transient - meaning they are non-permanent, constantly changing and evolving during the play. (Read more about Transient Art with Loose Parts - here)

So to start you off (or just give you a little inspo) here's a list of loose parts you might like to start collecting...
  • pebbles, gems, marbles
  • shells
  • buttons
  • bottle tops, lids
  • popsticks, matchsticks
  • corks
  • gum nuts, sticks, flowers, leaves
  • pipe cleaners
  • straws
  • pom poms
  • google eyes
  • nuts and bolts 
  • beads
Also consider play dough, sand, a mirror or paper with lines and patterns for the children to use as a guide or a frame for their play creations. Lovely baskets and boxes are a great addition as well.

Now, how about the age of the child? Is this important? YES! Of course, as with any activity you are planning for your child, you need to consider if it is age appropriate. Loose parts play is not suitable for children still in the 'putting everything in their mouth' phase - so I'd suggest over 3s.

But a great alternative for babies to explore loose parts in a safe sensory way is just to pop the items in a discovery bottle. Then they can look, see and hear with no risk.

For toddlers, try colour sorting with larger loose parts and every day objects. It's also a great way to practise counting skills.

For preschoolers the sky is the limit!

And now for this week's winners of the challenge!

Head over to Instagram for the details of these nine accounts. Thanks again to Shannon from Oh Creative Day and the ladies from Laura & Tia from Little Button Diaries for inviting me to take part this week. I have another one for Early Learning 101 coming up soon too so that's exciting!

Take care everyone!
Lauren xx

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