Infinite play possibilities with large loose parts
By Vikki Wright, Infant Instructional Coach, Dover Campus
"Loose parts possess infinite play possibilities. They offer multiple rather than single outcomes: no specific set of directions accompanies them; no single result is inevitable.” Daly, L. and Beloglovsky, M.
'I spent all this money on a new toy and all they want to play with is the box!' This is something that most parents will have uttered at some point when referring to their amazement at how long a child will play with a simple box. Taking this natural curiosity and imagination is exactly what loose parts play does.
In the Primary Playground there is an area with different sized poles for the children to use, which is called the interactive playground. The Infant team have added a range of loose parts that are items that were destined for the bin. They are being re-used and given a new lease of life in this space. The facilities team have been looking around the whole school for items that can be used, including crates, string, tarpaulin, buckets and clips.
“You can make anything with the rubbish.” Taira, Grade 1
During the Infant play times this area is being changed into a range of things including a tropical island, a camp-site, musical mayhem or a fabulous dragon dance. The beauty of open ended items such as a crate is it can be used in any way the child desires, providing choice, freedom and ownership.
“We can pretend and play.” Amelia, Grade 1
The level of collaboration required is high. As the items are large and heavy they need to be maneuvered with friends. They often have problems that they need to solve, such as negotiating how to hang a large tarpaulin on a pole that is taller than they are. How will they reach it? How will they attach it? Will it hold? When it fails, what happens then? The children persevere, they try something else, they check in with a friend and they figure it out.
“Team work makes it fabulous.” Taeyul, Grade 1.
To be privy to their rich conversations and gain an insight into their thinking and creativity is inspiring. I invite you all to spend time in this area, to observe the rich learning opportunities, and of course to make your own world if you so please.