Loose Parts Play

Loose Parts

One thing you will notice in Reggio preschool programs is that alongside some traditional toys, there will be many buckets and baskets of "loose parts."

What are Loose Parts?

Loose parts are open-ended materials that one might not immediately recognize as "toys." They are materials that can be moved, combined, redesigned, lined up, taken apart, and put back together in multiple ways. They have no specific set of directions for how they can be used. They can be made of natural or synthetic materials.

Common Loose Parts:

  • corks
  • PVC piping
  • tree stumps
  • acorns
  • pinecones
  • rocks
  • bottle caps
  • marbles
  • fabric scraps
  • leaves
  • shells
  • pegs
  • pots and pans
  • beads

How do Loose Parts contribute to learning?

Loose Parts allow children to play in such a way that encourages thinking, problem solving, theoretical reasoning, and symbolic thought. Loose Parts catch the attention of young children-- just think about how many rocks you find in their pockets after playing outside. Loose Parts allow for open-ended play. There are infinite possibilities for how the play can develop. Loose parts are mobile and can move with the children as they move.