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Loose Parts

We use ‘loose parts’ a lot in our free play training and our free play sessions with children and young people. Loose parts are items and materials that children and young people can use in their play. They provide a high level of creativity and choice and the possibilities are endless for how they can be used.

Loose parts can be natural or manmade. Research shows that children and young people prefer to play with loose parts such as water, sticks, sand, ropes and boxes, rather than traditional toys and play equipment, because they can use their imagination, and have greater control in their play.

When a child is playing with sand, it can become anything they want it to be; whereas many bought toys lack such flexibility.

Where can you get loose parts?

  • In nature - for example: pine cones, shells, twigs, grass, stones, mud, straw bales…
  • At home - for example: cushions, blankets, junk, buckets, old clothes…
  • Recycling - cardboard boxes, washing up bottles, old Cds, plastic bottles, ice-cream tubs, paper…
  • Buy some - for example sand, logs, netting, hoops, old tires, ropes, tarpaulins, arts and crafts materials…

The list goes on, just use your imagination….!

For more loose parts ideas download our handy list.

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Youth Highland, Temperance House, Tulloch Street, Dingwall, Ross-Shire Scotland IV15 9HA T: 01349 865186 E: