When educators carefully observe children playing, they see how children enjoy spending time connecting and disconnecting objects. Children use tape to join papers together, and they place and replace sticky notes to create different designs. Velcro rollers can be connected and disconnected easily, and they can also be attached to different surfaces. Children can create designs on felt boards, or they can build tall pyramids and complex structures. When children spend time connecting and disconnecting objects, they are developing problem-solving skills and coming up with creative solutions to attach items together. They work to figure out the properties of each object and how to connect them. Masking tape is stickier than transparent tape and may link items with more ease. They realize that magnets have opposing forces and they figure out ways to use them to connect train cars. They explore a variety of clips to connect and hang scarves and ribbon in the environment. In the process they learn that some clips are easier to manipulate with their fingers, but they may not hold heavy items as well as bigger clips.Inquiry is seeking knowledge through questions—it is both a practical and cognitive activity. Children’s curiosity moves them to explore and ask many questions that lead to in-depth explorations of immediate interest to them. Children are innately curious beings. From birth, they demonstrate an instinct for inquiry and a strong sense of wonder that motivates them to learn about their environment. Their desire to question, hypothesize, explore, and investigate is an inherent part of who they are. Loose parts support the curiosity and inquisitive nature of young children. Children love playing on playground equipment - didn't you when you were younger?
Young children ask many questions to make sense of their world and their place in it. Their curiosity and natural sense of wonder drive them to explore and investigate the answers to their questions. In doing this they are in control of their own learning, which encourages their spirit to explore and investigate what interests them. Loose parts are invitations for learning; they provoke curiosity and excite children to explore and investigate their multiple uses. Children can redesign, re purpose, and incorporate loose parts into long-term inquiry-based investigations. Loose parts are “intelligent” materials that stimulate the scientist qualities in every child. An important component of inquiry is imagination. Children have an unconventional way of looking at patterns that may not be obvious to adults. They are creative when they look for answers. In order to develop their sense of wonder, children need the freedom to be physically involved with the environment. Children’s curiosity grows when provocations that invoke discovery, exploration, asking questions, testing theories, making plans, and thinking deeply are included in the environment. A variety of loose parts support children’s inquiry and imagination and interest in lifelong learning.Children are interested in building and testing their theories about the functioning of the physical and social world in which they live. They are just as interested in building as they are in demolishing and dissecting the structures they build. Building and constructing allow children to translate abstract images in their mind or imagination and creatively turn these images into concrete objects. It helps them foster problem-solving skills and develop divergent thinking. Loose parts engage children in constructive play. They can build a tent or a fort using branches and a variety of fabrics. They can design a town using sticks, pebbles, and rocks. If you're planning on improving your garden then why not add outdoor fitness equipment today?
They can create a dam using branches and twigs or a large structure using cardboard boxes. They can test their engineering skills by using gutters to construct an aqueduct to transport water. Loose parts help develop future engineers, architects, scientists, artists, designers, and mathematicians. The possibilities are limited only by the variety and number of loose parts included in the environment.Amanda, Leah, and Sean are creating a large enclosure using branches, large spools, fabric, and string. They want to make the enclosure big enough for the three of them to fit inside. They are planning to create a quiet space with pillows and blankets for reading and resting. They start by sharing their ideas with each other. They draw plans and gather the materials they need. As they work together, they run into a few challenges. First, they realize that the fabric is too heavy and its weight makes the structure collapse. Amanda takes a few steps back and says, “Oh no, we need to get more branches so it stays up.” They take a few more branches, and with adult help they are able to create the structure. They tie string on top of the branches to secure them. They place the fabric on top of the structure, and this time it stays. The children clap in excitement and run to get pillows and blankets. When the three of them try to get in, they run into another challenge. Sean says, “Uh-oh, we don’t fit. What are we going to do?” This leads into finding other ways to add space. They drape fabric on top of a branch to create a shady and quiet space to play, and they secure the ends to the ground using rocks. The children use this quiet space for a few days to read and get away from the excitement of the classroom. With exercise being so important nowadays, products such as monkey bars would be a welcome find in any Christmas stocking, providing you could fit them in!