Monday, July 26, 2010

loose parts = imagination + creativity

Kids really get to know the environment if they can dig it, beat it, swat it, lift it, push it, join it, combine different things with it.  This is what adults call creative activity...a process of imagination and environment working together.
- Robin Moore
Our children never stop creating and constructing using loose parts: tyres, milk crates, wooden boards, logs, rope, sheets...anything they can get their hands on.  

When we step back and give them the time and  freedom to move things around, this is what happens:

Nifty ball shooters:

Balance boards:

Their own cubby houses:

Bridges and dams:

Their own play equipment:

Often, children would rather play with cheaply available materials that they can use and adapt as they please, rather than expensive pieces of play equipment. 

Children don't always use equipment the way the adult world expects them to

Sometimes only they know what they are creating:

And that's okay!

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  1. I love that you have so much space for all those loose parts Jenny. I worry that our outdoor area is too ... hmmmm ... organised. I think we need to spend some effort disorganising (if that is a real word) our play area!
    Donna :) :)

  2. What a great post! You can see how deeply engaged the kids are with their project and with each other... truly a delight to see. There was an article recently in the New Yorker about the evolution of playgrounds... an expert playground guy who's designing some cutting edge ones for MAnhattan is all about manipulables and moving parts... he stocks the playgrounds with these big foam blocks so kids will engage together and build... I think it's just an unnecessarily fancy and expensive way of trying to emulate what is already happening at your playspace (And what kids have been doing for thousands of years if adults don't get in their way).

  3. Very cool! I shared the photos of the play areas with my sons and they thought it looked very fun.
    The children do look quite engaged in their various projects and look as if they are loving every minute of it!
    Happy Monday!
    :) Colleen

  4. Forgot to mention that I gave you an award for your blog...
    Have a good one,

  5. Donna: I'd give an arm and a leg for some of your climbing and balancing equipment. We are lucky with our space, but the kids do need more things to climb and jump off.

    Colleen: Thanks for your kind comments and for the award. I hope you will excuse me - I'm hopeless at passing on awards. Its all I can do to actually get blog posts up and running! I've left a comment on your beautiful blog.

    Kami - It is so fun to watch what they do with 'stuff' that is lying around. Sometimes it makes our playspace look a bit like a bomb has hit it at the end of the day, but they have been creating and imagining and building and working together so that's the most important thing. Interesting about the playground in NY - I know there are vans that go around (in the UK I think) that take lots of loose parts to schools etc and let the kids loose to see what they create. I think they are called "Imagination playground in a box" or something similar. I did a post on it - have to hunt it down.

  6. Here it is Kami - Imagination playground in a box:


  7. This post has been selected as one of my great posts of the week. Here is the link to my post: