Loose Parts Play.
Most parents can relate to the scenario where a child is given a flash (and usually pricey) toy and seems far more interested in the cardboard box it came in! Children seem to know that whilst the toy itself may have only a single function, the box can be anything from a fort to castle to submarine or spaceship.
Children are drawn to items that let their imaginations run wild. They understand that objects with no specific purpose (think sticks, blocks, boxes and cylinders) can more easily be reinvented as props in their play. In the 1970s, architect Simon Nicholson called this the “Theory of Loose Parts” acknowledging that it's the loose parts in our environment that empower our creativity. When items can be moved, manipulated and combined in new ways then children's critical thinking and problem-solving will be at their best. Educational philosophies such as Reggio Emilia, Waldorf (Steiner) and Montessori have long understood the importance of loose parts in enabling children to use their imaginations in an endless variety of ways.
As parents, we know it's the creative, imaginative and open-ended play that keeps our children occupied the longest. However, if we look about our homes we're likely to find a multitude of store-bought toys and games. These too have their place, but usually, don't hold the imaginations of our little ones for as long.
At Nesk Kids, we're passionate about finding ways for kids to learn through creative and imaginative play. That's why we created the Nesk Kids store & play box. It's perfect for sorting, storing and displaying loose items and little treasures to encourage self-directed creative play. The box comes with either removable lid – ideal for when there are lots of little hands at play, or lockable lid – for transporting treasures to a friend's house, on holiday or even to a cafe or restaurant. Both come with easy access to paper and a blackboard via a handy drawer.
The store-and-play box comes with 17 easy-to-view compartments ready to be filled with inspiring items. And the beauty is, these items need not be store-bought. In fact, children are more likely to find the natural, upcycled, free or found items from your own garden, home or neighbourhood the most intriguing.
Items that will capture your children's curiosity include:
items from nature: stones, shells, leaves, feathers, bark, seeds and seed pods.
craft items: ribbons, buttons, beads, icy pole sticks, pom poms.
household items: lids, marbles, dominos.
However, if you are short on time, in need of some inspiration or a gift, begin with our pre-filled tinker box or pre-filled nature box. It comes complete with all the beautiful loose items you'll need to spark play that's innovative, creative and full of wonder. Enjoy!
Shop loose parts play materials here.