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Here are five simple ideas on how you can use large loose parts in your setting:

Obstacle course

An obstacle course activity is one of our favourite ways to develop core stability and fundamentals. It allows children to be creative with open-ended resources.

Ask children to create their own obstacle course and encourage them to work with other children to help develop their teamwork skills. By doing this, they'll also practice their gross motor skills and explore opportunities to travel, balance and build physical skills as they create their pathways.

You can get your hands on a collection of loose parts by asking for donations or visiting local recycling centres. Choose from tyres, planks, crates, logs, cable reels or something similar. For smaller spaces, try using H crates (you can use them for storage afterwards).

What you’ll need:

Obstacle course

 

Choo choo crates

Enhance your outdoor role play with crates!

Children will develop their physical abilities and problem-solving skills by using crates to create a train or another type of vehicle. Add other props like steering wheels, fabrics, or dressing-up clothes for even more possibilities for play.

What you’ll need:

 

On a roll

Did you know you can use tyres to develop a child’s fine and gross motor skills?

Encourage children to roll little tyres around the play area and use them for stacking and construction. When they come to tackle larger tyres, children will be challenged to use all their muscles, and they may need a little help from their friends. You might like to try using Lipped Planks to create wacky tyre races or Tyre Islands to create pathways.

What you’ll need:

Outdoor tyre activity

 

Make a den

Loose parts are great additions to gather when making a den.

Encourage children to use objects they already have and create an outdoor secret hideout. Don't forget to add large fabrics and pegs, which can help develop small movements as they construct their dens and pin the fabric into place.

Outdoor den activity

 

Real-life role play

Have you heard of ‘deconstructed’ role play before? This type of play encourages children to use their imagination creatively by exploring loose parts and creating their own props and settings.

Provide large items like tyres, cable reels, blocks, logs and fabric for children to recreate their own real-life or fantasy worlds. You could start with a story to spark their limitless imaginations and encourage them to create a setting, like a castle or a fire station. You’ll be surprised how children use the resources without any directions. This play will provide plenty of opportunities to develop their physical skills.

What you’ll need:

 

You’ll be surprised how many new ideas you'll come across that you never thought of whilst watching children use loose parts.

These activities have been taken from Little Learners, a FREE magazine full of early years resources and activities. Click here to read our latest issue!

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Cosy Direct

Cosy promote a natural, engaged and active childhood by supplying sustainable nursery and educational equipment worldwide. As a home of new ideas, they’re continually innovating and developing their product range with teacher-led research and play in mind. Champions of rural and real-life childhoods, where children are encouraged to play and take part in adventurous activities that enable them to learn and develop whilst having fun.