The environment in which the children are expected to learn and grow is vital to the learning process, that the Reggio Emilia schools in Italy have acknowledged that it acts as a “third teacher”.
Adding loose parts to a well planned environment provides the children with the opportunity to build and gives them a chance to change their surroundings. The children use their imagination to manipulate various materials in many ways.
I consider loose parts as one of my favorite teaching tools.
Here are some examples on how the children were able to play with a set of tree blocks in different ways.
“Cat Land” - Setting 1
The Cat Mobile