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...having a good time in the Early Years
 Sally’s Blog
            Loose Parts Play

The theory of loose parts
If you’ve never heard of ‘Loose parts’ play, you could
start by looking at this blogspot which has a clear and
helpful explanation:

The original article by Simon Nicholson which explores Loose Parts can be
downloaded from:

Other useful reading includes
From an article ‘Children's Outdoor Play & Learning Environments:
Returning to Nature’ by Randy White & Vicki Stoecklin
‘It is unfortunate that children can't design their outdoor play
environments. Research on children's preferences shows that if children
had the design skills to do so, their creations would be completely different
from the areas called playgrounds that most adults design for them.
Outdoor spaces designed by children would not only be fully naturalized
with plants, trees, flowers, water, dirt, sand, mud, animals and insects, but
also would be rich with a wide variety of play opportunities of every
imaginable type. If children could design their outdoor play spaces, they
would be rich developmentally appropriate learning environments where
children would want to stay all day.’

From an article on beach experiences:
‘Simon Nicholson, an architect looking at how to design effective places for
people developed his well referenced Theory of Loose Parts based on his
observations of children at play on a beach. “In any environment, both the
degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are
directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.”
The beach with its shifting sands, its flotsam and jetsam, the shells, the
sand, the pebbles, the water and all the fabulous and varied forms of life
are all ready and available invitations for children to play and learn. As
there is in woodland there is an element of ‘disorder’. In the woods and on
the beaches the higher human authority isn’t so much in evidence and this
makes it easier for children to make the rules themselves, in agreement
with those adults who are present. It is the environment that gives
permission for experiments and spontaneity to take place.’

Juliet Robinson’s website and blogspot has lots of inspiring examples and
ideas for ‘loose parts play’ with cheap and found resources:
buttns and beads.JPG
Boy with tools.JPG
33. Lenny mixing.JPG
loose parts H4.JPG