WISS Today Article

Inspiring Minds Series

When talking about Loose Parts Play, it’s important to understand that there are no rules and no right way to play with loose parts. One of the purposes of this pedagogical approach is to give your kids freedom to use their imagination.   


An Introduction to Loose Parts Play   

Loose parts enhance creativity and invite children to create in endless ways. Loose parts play is different in each child’s eyes, and its function can change from one minute to another. What is a plane today can be a boat tomorrow, a tree, or even a house! 

Loose Parts Play reflects each individual’s imagination, creativity, knowledge, and skills. Kids figure everything out by themselves, and the results are often surprising. Students lead the learning and the play, and they decide what and how to use the loose parts.     

WISS student learning with Loose Parts Play at WISS

Children who learn through playing with loose parts develop creativity and divergent thinking as they try new ways of playing and explore an incredible new world of learning experiences.    

While playing with loose parts, kids show a particular enthusiasm that is hard to find in traditional ways of learning and teaching. Loose parts play is an excellent way to develop problem-solving skills through play-based learning that offers a sense of wonder to kids. On top of this, children acquire many other skills like learning how to collaborate and play with other children.  

WISS student at the Western International School of Shanghai

What Are Loose Parts?  

Loose parts can be anything that catches your eye! Either natural or synthetic, round or square, soft or rough. They can be anything with the power and the magic to inspire and empower a child’s imagination. From wooden blocks to rocks or leaves, cotton and fabric, art supplies, and much more! Experimenting with loose parts is limitless!   

WISS student at the Western International School of Shanghai

At the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS), Loose Parts Play is integrated into the Early Years curriculum and connected to inquiry-based early learning. When kids start to explore at the youngest ages, allowing them to interact with all they have within their reach is the best way to inspire their minds.  

What Do Kids Learn From Loose Parts Play?

Ms. Lisa Kane, PYP Coordinator at WISS, shares her thoughts about this pedagogical approach, “Loose Parts Play is taking over the learning spaces in Early Years, both inside and out! This concept which emerged from the architect Simon Nicholson (1971), sees the potential of creativity in people of all ages. Using materials with no fixed purpose enables imagination, limitless possibilities, and higher-level thinking. Due to the open-ended nature of these materials, you are continually surprised by the creations that young children make. What is used to create homes for animals one day is a gourmet recipe the next! The use of these materials is continually changing and evolving, demonstrating 22nd-century skills that include solution finding, collaboration, and communication.”  

WISS students learning with Loose Parts Play at WISS

In the words of Loris Magaluzzi, founder of Reggio Emilia, “The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences.”  

And now that you know more about this creative and inspired play, it’s time to incorporate Loose Parts Play into your home! Let us know how it goes!