It’s not just about providing games and dress ups. Giving time, opportunity and open ended resources to young minds, supports an endless amount of imagination and learning in play. Recent playground experiences where a good supply of large objects tyres, pipes, crates etc… led to amazing cooperative and social play inspiring leadership, confidence, cooperation and a chance to stretch problem solving skills – (we also got a pirate ship a castle a car a train and a crane:)
Junk modeling or the use of “loose parts” is where natural or synthetic objects are found, bought, or upcycled —acorns, hardware, stones, aluminum foil, fabric scraps, Children can move, manipulate, control, and change items within their play. Loose parts are alluring and beautiful. They capture children’s curiosity, give free reign to their imagination, and encourage creativity.
Open ended resources (sometimes known as junk) supports open-ended learning, enhance play, and empowers children to create their own learning experience. With loose parts, the possibilities are endless.
“Children acquire their first math skills and understanding of numerical concepts when they manipulate small loose parts, like blocks and bottle caps, by sorting and classifying and combining and separating them. Once they begin integrating loose parts into their games, you commonly hear them start to count and see them arranging the parts in specific sequences, patterns, and categories by color, type, number and class.” Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky, authors of Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children.