This is a very interesting article on loose parts and their role in children’s play and very much reflects the way we attempt to enable play and learning at playgroup.
I’ll try to summarise for those of you who don’t have time to read the whole article. Loose parts is the buzz phrase these days for all the odds and ends and assorted junk that kids just love to play with. They are not toys, they can be sticks, stones, buttons, corks, you name it and children will change it into anything they want it to be. That is the beauty, and learning, in loose parts, children imagine what they want and come up with ideas and games that adults just wouldn’t conceive of. Toys tend to “dictate” play, they suggest to children what they should be doing, a slide is for sliding, a swing for swinging, a pram for pushing a dolly in etc. Yet, how often do we see children playing with something in a completely different way to we adults anticipate? Yesterday at playgroup, for example, we watched the children fill watering cans and pans with water and pour them down the ball run – which was made to run balls down. Allowing children to think their own thoughts and make their own play stimulates much greater learning. Children make up rules, negotiate, share, communicate, help each other – all on their own. Adults don’t get involved in this play – well we try not to – children take the lead, or drive their own learning, and with them in charge they will take their learning further (and often in a completely different direction) that often we anticipate.
We have been lucky to be able to be outside so much recently and this week was also spent in the garden.
We have made sticky pictures and flown helicopters to see birds. We made shapes with the playdough and discovered it goes really squidgy when we leave it out in the garden.
We remembered to turn the tap off on the water butt and we collected lots and lots of water so that we were able to pour it into our pots and pans and watering cans and make lots of special potions, soups and cups of tea.
We were busy inside and outside today – we did some foot painting – that was great fun. The paint was cold and squishy on our feet and we had to be careful not to slip because the paint made our feet slide really easily.
We had pink and blue paint and when we jumped around it mixed up and made purple.
Outside we were putting the ball down the long pipe – we put a pan at the end and the ball bounced on it and made it ping!
We been so lucky to be outside in the garden both sessions this week, and, in glorious sunshine. We had a visit from the school children on Tuesday, part of the transition arrangements we have with Kippen Primary school to aid the transition from playgroup and nursery to school.
We were also very busy making our Olympic t-shirts for the Street Fayre. We used 5 different colours and stamped circles on to our t-shirts. The circles all join together because thats what all the countries do during the Olympics – join together to do different sports.