Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Loose Parts Playground

A hose reel, assorted bricks and stones, a stick, and wire mesh shelving. Black smith shop.

Not long ago, I started seeing mention of Loose Parts Playgrounds.  As I read the descriptions of giant blocks, boards and spools, it occurred to me that we have many of those elements in our own back yard. I have since made an effort to have them more accessible to my children. We will continue to add pieces as we come across them.

Everyone loves a cardboard box.

The concept behind a loose parts playground is simple. Instead of, or alongside, traditional playground equipment, provide children with large, heavy building materials that they can use to build life-size constructions.

Kids love blocks. They love to build, to create, to design. These materials allow them to build on a large scale. To build things they can walk on and climb into. Unlike tiny Legos and unit blocks, they can interact with their creations using their entire bodies.

Many of the pictures and descriptions I have seen are composed largely of specifically designed large scale toys, or carefully landscaped play areas. They are beautiful. And pricey. But we have built our collection out of scraps salvaged from our property and our home improvement projects.

Scrap wood- minus nails, screws, or obvious splinters- becomes a ramp, a bridge, a door, a wall. Assorted sized and shaped bricks are huge, weighty blocks, building muscles and increasing awareness of ones position in space. And boxes. We all know about boxes. 

Bottom line: Scraps+creativity= loose parts=fun.

1 comment:

  1. Now that's an excuse to keep all of those scrap material. Who knows, with those extra material, instead of just constructing make-believe toys, you can build some real-life components. All it takes is a little imagination, and probably a large amount of scrap. But if you guys are into home improvement, there should be no shortage of material.
    Paul Klassen @ PinnacleRenovations.ca