Unlocking Creativity And Imagination Using Loose Parts
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we believe in fostering a creative and imaginative environment for children, where learning extends beyond traditional toys and structured activities. That’s why we are reintroducing an exciting element to our curriculum—”loose parts”.
“Loose parts” are open-ended materials, which include items such as boxes, tubes, string, rocks, corks, paper clips, marbles and jar lids (just to name a few), have the potential to transform the way children engage with their surroundings, enhancing their critical thinking, problem-solving, and imaginative skills.
We have been inspired to reintroduce loose parts back into our curriculum after conducting some research that emphasized their profound impact on children’s learning and development.
We are in the process of building our loose parts repository, which involves collecting a diverse range of materials from various sources, including a recycling center in Mississauga. We are also encouraging parents to contribute loose parts that they have around the home, allowing us to create a wide array of materials that align with our curriculum and projects.
How we use loose parts in the classroom
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, our Four Pillars of Learning—Language/Literacy, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math), physical activity/nutrition, and mindful awareness—form the foundation of our curriculum.
And incorporating loose parts into our curriculum opens up a world of possibilities for children’s learning experiences. We strategically select loose parts based on their connection to our curriculum pillars. For example, natural loose parts align with our science activities, recycled materials find their place in art projects, and boxes become a part of our engineering explorations.
The introduction of loose parts sparks a sense of wonder and discovery in children. Unlike commercial toys with predefined functions, loose parts invite children to use their creativity and imagination. A simple box can instantly transform into a spaceship, a house, or a magical kingdom. This open-ended nature allows children to explore, experiment, and engage in critical thinking as they repurpose and reimagine these materials.
The benefits of using loose parts as part of our 4 Pillars Curriculum
All our educators recently attended a company training day focusing on “loose parts”. We have already begun incorporating loose parts into our activities, and the response from children has been incredible. For instance, when we introduced a box into a sensory bin, children were immediately drawn to it. They started exploring its potential, filling it with objects and experimenting with ways to interact with it. The teachers even created a tunnel with a roof using boxes, and the children had so much fun crawling and walking through it. These experiences exemplify how loose parts can transform the classroom environment and ignite children’s curiosity and engagement.
The beauty of loose parts lies in their ability to adapt and evolve. They provide endless opportunities for children to collaborate, problem-solve, and co-create with their peers and teachers.
By incorporating loose parts into our curriculum, we encourage children to think outside the box (literally!) and develop vital skills that go beyond academic knowledge. Loose parts stimulate their imagination, boost their confidence, and nurture their holistic development.
As we continue to expand our loose parts collection and incorporate them into our activities, we are excited to witness the transformative impact they will have on our children’s learning journeys. We invite parents to join us on this exciting adventure, contributing to our loose parts repository and embracing the endless possibilities that these materials offer.
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we are committed to providing an environment where children can explore, create, and grow, nurturing their potential to become anything they desire. So together, let’s celebrate the power of loose parts and their ability to unlock creativity, imagination, and critical thinking skills in young minds.
For more information on our 4 Pillars of Learning, or to book a tour, please contact us at https://www.alphasdiscoveryclub.com/contact/ or call us at 905-823-8257.