Loose parts: The best way to play!

Loose parts are a ridiculous amount of fun and children can develop so many skills by playing with them.

Loose parts play encourages creativity, imagination and problem solving in a way no other toys can. So many toys these days have one purpose or are made for children to play a specific way but loose parts allow children to explore, create and be masters of their universe.

Below is a list of loose parts you may like to collect:

Man made

  • Ball pit balls
  • Christmas ornaments
  • Utensils (slotted spoon, potato masher, etc)
  • Fabric petals
  • Baskets – lots of baskets!
  • Old cd’s
  • Curtain rings
  • Fake flowers
  • Scarves
  • Random plasticware
  • Eye droppers
  • Pots and pans
  • Fabric samples
  • Old photo frames (remove glass for safety)
  • Tile samples (be mindful of sharp edges)
  • Turkey baster
  • Embroidery hoops
  • Lace
  • Funnels
  • Pot holders/coasters
  • Tins
  • Small lamp shades
  • Muffin trays
  • Pegs/dolly pegs
  • Old costume jewellery


  • Large stones (be mindful of your child’s age for choking hazard). Supervise where necessary
  • Petals
  • Leaves
  • Pine cones
  • Sticks
  • Half coconuts
  • Cardboard cylinders
  • Big cardboard rolls
  • Seed pods
  • Feathers
  • Bamboo pieces

The photo above is just one of many loose parts containers we have at home. I am planning to make more loose parts containers for my son to explore with this one fron Renata’s Family Day Care being of great inspiration (although I am partial to lids). (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1816400411734448&id=302798893094615)

Here are close ups of our container at home. It includes Christmas decorations, Christmas beads, some costume jewellery, random cardboard packing pieces and even a flat cow coaster.

My son has spent hours with these loose parts. His favourite item is the Christmas bead chain which he discovered on our Christmas tree last year. He drags it all over the place using it for all sorts of things. I was very impressed with how he used it with our mega block inspired base tray ($5 from K-Mart).

He spent at least half an hour trailing it between the shapes, making trail after trail and running his fingers along it, listening to the clinking sound it made as it dragged along.

Loose parts are amazing! Tell us of any we might have missed to add to the list.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. I used to give my daughter broken small appliances and a screwdriver when she was 2 yrs old . . I’d set her on the porch to investigate what made it run. . .

    1. CleverBabi says:

      That’s awesome!
      I used to do something similar when I worked in a kindy. We would provide the children with real life puzzle items like torches and let them pull them apart and put them back together over and over.
      Thanks for commenting 🙂

      1. Love it!!

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