Understanding Loose Parts Play and the Benefits in EYFS

16 May 2023  |  Laura Manning

Loose parts play is as simple as having a variety of loose material which is able to be moved around, carried, stacked and re-designed in multiple ways to encourage children to be creative whilst they play.

3D Wooden Shapes
Sort ’n’ Design
Wooden Fine Motor Pattern Balls

What is Loose Parts Play?

Loose parts play was created in the 1970s by architect, Simon Nicholson; he defined loose parts play as having any open-ended materials which encourage creativity and exploration in children. Since then, more and more early years settings are using this concept and allowing children to have independence and freedom in open-ended play.

Loose parts play is available to everyone, with many loose parts resources being free; you can create loose parts play with anything from pebbles and buttons, to scraps of fabric and feathers! However, at Educational Advantage we also have many resources which support loose parts play!

3D Shape Exploration

What are the benefits of Loose Parts Play?

Social and Emotional Skills:

The development of social and emotional skills is encouraged when children work together collaboratively; sharing and taking it in turns to use resources. You may also notice children listening and responding to other children's ideas.

Why not set your cohort the challenge to see what they can create with loose parts in small groups?

Motor Skills:

Children can strengthen their gross motor skills when using their bigger muscles to lift, push, pull and carry larger loose parts around into their desired position.

Fine motor skills are developed as children grasp and pick up small objects. Lots of loose parts play involve tinker tray play; it is common to see children using their fingers and hands to line up and stack objects.

Designer Blocks

Imagination and Creativity:

Loose parts play is the perfect opportunity for children to be given the freedom to explore their own ideas. As loose parts play does not have a defined purpose; children are encouraged to use their own imagination, and try to find ways of using the same parts for different purposes during play time!

Why not see what else you can create with our The Freckled Frog Designer Blocks Set?

So Why Do We Love Loose Parts Play?

Not only will loose parts play have your cohort developing skills across the whole curriculum; in Maths, Literacy, Arts & Crafts, Science and much more! But it is also so easy to create!

Loose parts play and open-ended resources allow children to be creative and learn in a way that is unique and meaningful to them. Children love being able to engage in open-ended materials, and construct resources completely from their own imagination!

Wooden Threading Cotton Reels

What are your favourite loose parts resources?

Please share any tips and ideas for loose parts play using the hashtag #educationaladvantage

We would love to see your creations!