Loose parts play does wonders for your kids’ development, stimulating their senses and fostering creative thinking. Best of all? Loose parts play requires no investment, as anything can be used as loose parts, from leaves and rocks to fabric scraps.
Using fabrics in loose parts play is an incredible way to introduce your kids to sustainability early on while inviting them to experiment with different materials. Let’s explore how old clothes and scraps around the house can unlock a world of wonder.
All Aboard the Loose Parts Play Train
When it comes to loose parts play, there’s virtually no limit to which fabrics can be used. Here are just some of the favourites among children:
- Scrunchies and hair ties – Endlessly fun and bendy
- Silk – Amazing to the touch
- Cotton – Perfect for manipulation
- Gauze – A fascinating rough texture
- Wool – Opens up a world of possibilities (especially in colourful balls)
The sheer variety of fabrics in terms of texture, colour, and shape makes it ideal for encouraging sensory exploration and sparking the imagination.
If you don’t have any of these materials lying around, don’t worry. Just rummage through your house and gather any fabric (or fabric scraps) that might seem appealing to your kids, be it ribbons, old scarves, flags, yarn, lace, or string.
With the ‘loose parts’ secured, let’s move on to the ‘play’ part. Check out some ideas on getting your kids to engage in loose parts play, whether independently or with a certain degree of direction.
By its very nature, collage-making is loose parts play. You take various materials like paper, fabric, photos, and small objects and assemble them creatively. Give your kids a big enough surface and visually appealing materials, and let them tell their own story through a collage. Any fabric, from twine to old carpet samples, can be part of this collage.
Loose parts play is all about the journey. But this doesn’t mean there can’t be an end goal. If your kids are up for it, give them different pieces of fabric, from chiffon to denim, and encourage them to create a unique costume. This can be for a specific costume party or just for funsies; it doesn’t matter. What matters is that this kind of dress-up works wonders for your kids’ creativity.
If you’re looking for a loose parts play idea that doesn’t involve much guidance on your behalf, this might be a winner. To make it happen, simply drop off all the loose parts you’ve collected in one area of your kid’s room. Then, give them free rein to use all the fabrics from that area as they see fit. The result? Lots of hanging wall art, cosy forts, and impromptu fashion shows. And more importantly, lots of fun!
Use loose parts play to take your kids to the old days when puppets were hand-made and significantly less sophisticated than modern models. Hand them various fabric scraps and toss in some googly eyes and craft supplies, and look forward to meeting the new friends they make. With a little convincing, you might even get a puppet show afterwards!
Younger children might have trouble forming items in loose parts play. So, let’s start with something simple. Grab a bin and fill it with your fabric scraps. Then, simply encourage your kids to explore all the different textures, shapes, and colours inside the bin. Once they’re a bit older, you can even task them with sorting those scraps together based on their similarities.
If your kids are fond of ribbons and strings, let them play with them extensively. Find an old basket (preferably a wicker one) and encourage your kids to give it a total makeover. The unique structure of the basket will give them plenty of opportunity to wrap ribbon, string, and lace all around.
For a more advanced loose parts play, team up with your kids for the ultimate fashion experience. Think of your kids as the creative minds behind a fashion line and you as their seamstress. Let them come up with creative ways to combine different types of fabrics like dollies and yarn, and then make their design happen.
Unlock the World of Imagination
The list of advantages of loose parts play for children could go on indefinitely. This open-ended play stimulates their curiosity and encourages them to discover new ways of interacting with and manipulating objects surrounding them.
Thanks to loose parts play, your kids will become more independent and develop numerous skills, including creative thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving. As an added bonus, you can monitor how they develop and approach new and complex subjects.
But as adorable as their DIY fashion pieces are, they’ll also need some clothing that isn’t made of scraps yet still encourages sustainability. That’s where Oobi comes into play. Oobi creates equally fun and magical clothing that’s ethically-made.