I believe that like most parents, you regard your children as your heart and soul.
The baby you love the most, of course, deserves the best Educational toys for kids – exquisite, good-looking, and children can’t put it down.
But I don’t know if parents have any doubts when purchasing toys. How should they choose “good toys” for their favorite babies?
Any game object must be safe for children to use it;
Children’s play objects should be simple, firm and preferably easy to clean;
● contribute to growth
The best items for children to play with can help children grow and stimulate their learning ability, imagination, creativity and other abilities.
Maybe you already know a lot of truths: about safety, firmness, easy cleaning, and helping children develop their abilities.
But I don’t know if you have experienced similar feelings:
Browsing toy reviews on the Internet repeatedly, but don’t know how to make a shopping decision; there are so many and complicated toys in the store, children want to see them all; expensive toys are bought for a few days, and the children lose interest in them, throw them aside, and the toys pile up at home more……
If you also have such troubles, why not try “Loose Parts Play”!
“Loose Parts Play” that inspires children’s creativity
What is “Loose Parts Play”?
The concept was first proposed by architect Simon Nicholson in the 1970s.
What gives us creativity, Nicholson argues, are the “flexible parts” of our environment that can be easily altered, combined, and recreated.
And “Loose Parts” refers to a variety of different sizes and sizes, and can be operated in many different ways, such as being moved, carried, arranged, reassembled, dismantled, and many other ways to play.
Features no predetermined outcome, and no right or wrong way to play.
That is to say, take the things that come in handy in life and transform them into children’s toys without any purpose!
The things that are readily available in life are:
● Various elements in nature: water, stones, branches, blocks, coconuts, pine cones, flowers.
● Daily necessities at home: balls, ropes, plastic bowls, brushes, cups, buckets, scarves, various fabrics.
● Waste products that can be reused: plastic bottles, cardboard, paper…
They may not be called “toys”, but more like “play objects” for children.
Instead of letting children execute a set of designed programs in complex toys according to the established gameplay, it is better to give children conditions and resources to let them create their own gameplay, so that children can freely explore and display, and release their own interest and ideas.
“Loose Parts Play” has been proven to have a good effect on children’s brain development and skill development.
At present, many educators agree that this method is simpler, more direct and natural, and more able to stimulate children’s inner nature and creativity.
Why is “Loose Parts Play”? How our children and us will benefit
First of all, we all know the nature of children and their characteristics in early childhood – love to play!
Yes, kids do love to play.
As parents, we often don’t want them to simply “play”, but hope that they can learn, grow and develop while “playing”.
But the fact is that for infants and young children, play and games are actually their best learning opportunities and ways of learning.
Play is not something that happens at a fixed time and place, play is a process.
In the process of play and play, including children’s spontaneous decision-making, self-direction, and self-motivation behavior, it is an essential part of healthy development.
An environment full of “loose parts” can blur the boundaries between learning and games, allowing children to learn through play, allowing them to experience and explore, feel and express their own ideas. When we give children more autonomy, children will have more opportunities to learn and develop themselves, and they will be exercised.
In addition, “Loose Parts Play” can provide children with rich sensory experience and exploration opportunities. During the process of playing, children explore and recognize factors such as the color, size, temperature, and touch of objects, which is conducive to Their senses develop.
And as parents, we can also discover children’s unique characteristics and personalities from the process of children’s Loose Parts Play, understand children, and better accompany them to grow up through understanding.
When children play with flexible components, they may gain:
● children will demonstrate how they explore independently or with others;
● participate in the process of problem solving and abstract thinking;
● Build and experience social interaction with peers in a shared space;
● Discover the world and explore the unknown through experience;
● Feel a sense of happiness and joy in new experiences.
When we accompany our children to play with flexible components, we may gain:
● Get the unique opportunity to test out ideas with your child
● Gain a deeper understanding of a child’s individual style or the collective style of multiple children
● Cooperate with children in learning and feel the learning process of children
In the process, strengthen, research, and challenge your own cognition and methods about children’s development, and you may find new discoveries.
Maybe you also sometimes find that children may keep playing with a simple thing, such as a blanket at home.
Children reach out, touch it and finally grab it, try to use it to pose different shapes, or hang it on their body to experience continuously.
Yes, children are exploring and learning and creating independently.
Don’t know how to play? it’s actually really easy!
We can play in several ways:
touch and feel?
A new way to create and discover items?
You can choose to play outdoors, which provides easier access to more flexible components.
If this still seems very abstract, then you can look at the following cases:
1. Artistic Creation
Suitable age: 0-6 years old
Children have a unique understanding and keen eyes for aesthetics. Give them some flexible components to make art with, and they’ll create something different.
At the same time, arts activities can encourage the development of many skills while promoting independence and creativity.
You can actually make art out of many things you can find at home and outside, including: beads, string, buttons; nuts, bolts, screws; pebbles, rocks, pine cones; shredded paper (can be from old magazines) ; useless old clothes rags, yarn, ribbons… old picture frames, paper, and a convenient desk or area to work on.
Necessary tools: such as glue, transparent glue, scissors, colored pens.
(Materials and tools can be arranged according to the age of the child)
How to play:
First, simply use trays or containers to sort the materials and place them on the table;
Then, children can arrange, design and create according to their wishes.
① Similarly, if the child is hesitant to start, you can sit and start creating by yourself, and the child will join you; if there are multiple children, you can encourage collaboration and co-creation.
② The child’s work does not necessarily need to be completed at one time, and can even be revised repeatedly. It is possible to repeatedly spend a week designing the position of the buttons on the photo frame.
③ You can encourage the creation of more specific themes, talk to the child and help develop his ideas, but be careful not to restrict their ideas. “Open-ended questions” with no fixed answers can be used to help them imagine.
It’s actually very simple, just prepare some easily visible items and an area where children can play.
2. Mud Kitchen
Suitable age: 3 to 5 years old
Playing with flexible components outdoors, in the garden, and helping children explore and develop their senses is fun. “Mud Kitchen” is a simple example.
① A large box or a cleared play area;
② Abandoned or relatively old pots, pots, etc.;
③ Some cups, spoons, bowls, saucers;
④ Soil, sand and water.
How to play:
Just put the various items together and start playing. Children may explore mixing earth and water into mud, or pouring and filling pots and pans with sand.
① The child may appear to be at a loss at first, it’s okay, you can start playing with no one else around, you don’t need to urge or try to lead the child to play, the child will join you.
② Try to feel the sound and feeling! Few people appreciate the sound of pots and pans being put together and hitting each other, and the feeling of mud and sand pouring.
③ The child may create some unconventional but interesting works, please encourage him!
Going back to the question we discussed at the beginning, what is the best toy?
Here I would like to quote a passage from educator Magda Gerber:
What are the characteristics of recommended play items? The characteristic is “they don’t do anything”. They only respond to the child when the child activates them.
Our active, active children deftly handle negative, passive objects.
In contrast, objects such as mobile phones, or electric toys, can cause our passive children to look at active toys. This will create a habit in the child to expect to be entertained.
Starting today, use “Loose Parts Play”, which is free and simple, but can promote the development of children’s abilities, and accompany your children’s childhood!