Friday, 20 December 2013

Outdoor Play Party - Loose Parts

Welcome to another OPP & the last before Christmas & for 2013. Thanks to everyone who has linked up in 2013, helped me by doing guest posts or taken the time to leave comments.

The buzz word at the moment in play is loose parts, it means so many different things to different people but here is my interpretation in an outdoor context.

Loose parts can be plastic & natural in my opinion.
Loose parts are anything that children can move about by themselves or with the help of others, so I count planks, tree stumps & logs as loose parts in my playground mainly because they are moveable. There are lots of fixed things in my playground so it is lovely to be able to provide other resources that can be moved about or become something different depending on where they are. Even with the fixed equipment like the slide, tree house or willow dens they can be whatever the children want them to be - house, rockets, castles, ships etc. but even then the play is mostly enhanced by loose parts like sticks or bottle babies.
These are used to create a circle around the fire on Fridays but then are available to be moved about or climbed on during the week.
I have one little boy in particular this year who love moving things about, if looking at schemas he would be a perfect example of a transporter. He moves crates, tyres, tree stumps & the plastic stepping stones all over the place. he seems to enjoy the doing of it all more than an end result as he often creates amazing obstacle courses but never really gets too involved in playing on them himself. He seems to enjoy making structures etc. for others to enjoy - though he will be very vocal about where the start is & get very cross if people go the 'wrong way'!!
The 'start' was the large red stepping stone going towards the fence.

When I look at photos of our playground when we first moved in, it was immaculate but too sterile. The children really needed lots of manufactured toys & resources to play with whereas now they can be spend hours playing with old saucepans, pine cones, bark chippings & sticks. 
Hours can be spent 'cooking' with these natural loose parts & the upturned Bottle Baby is seasoning!
If I had to give a list of the essential resources for building up a great array of loose parts I would suggest: sticks - long & short, Bottle Babies, pine cones, acorns, hickory nuts (whatever is in your local area), bark chippings or mulch, old sauce pans & water and for larger loose part play, crates, tyres, tree stumps & logs.

So as we enter a time when people spend hundreds on manufactured toys for children have a little think about how you can provide hours of fun & encourage imaginative play with lots of 'free' stuff!!

Thanks to everyone to linked up last time & lent support to the OPP, my favourite post that I am featuring from last time was from My Nearest and Dearest on having a Teddy Bears' Picnic, I like the idea of having such a fun event even in Winter as mostly these sort of things seem to only happen in the good weather.
  • Any kind of children's outdoor play-related posts are welcome!

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Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured.(If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the 'featured' button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week!


  1. Love your moving parts, great for imaginative play and teamwork. Your outdoor space has really matured over time and all your children are lucky to have this facility.

    1. Exactly Fiona, some take a lot of cooperation to get them moved about! Thanks for linking up too.

  2. That meal looks delicious!

  3. LOL, I think it was chicken with soup & chocolate cake, hopefully not all in he same pan!

  4. Lots of great ideas and inspiration as always! Have a fabulous Christmas x #CountryKids

    1. Thanks Sara xxx Hope you all have a fab time too

  5. We love loose parts. I love the endless possibilities and watching different children's different imaginations and personalities show through in how they play :-)
    Have a lovely Christmas!!

    1. Thanks Leila, you too. It's how I remember playing as a child we just didn't use that term.

  6. Ah! That looks like a fun activity. I am also looking for event halls for rent that has some open area as well for my daughter’s birthday celebration. I am sure if I find something like this, then I will be able to decorate it amazingly as well. Let’s hope for the best, fingers crossed!


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