Loose Parts

What are loose parts?

Loose parts are materials that encourage hands on creativity, discovery and open-ended learning. ‚ÄčAnything can be classed as a loose part as long as it doesn’t have a defined use, such as a car garage or a dolls house.

Within all of our rooms at Mulberry Corner Day Nursery we have multiple resources that offer endless possibilities and opportunities to learn, while allowing the children to understand and lead on their own risk management (alongside our Early Years Practitioners of course);

  • Loose parts we have at nursery include:
  • Wooden sticks 
  • Cable reels 
  • Shells   
  • Guttering   
  • Feathers 
  • Pots and pans   
  • Corks   
  • Curtain hooks

Where did the idea of loose parts come from?

The concept of loose parts, and the huge benefits that they can have on children's play and learning originates from Simon Nichloson. Nicholson wrote an article about the benefits of a loose parts environment on enhancing child development.

He identified loose parts as “ all the things that satisfy ones curiosity and gives us the pleasure that results from discovery and inventions" .

Loose parts can be designed, experimented with, added to, combined, moved, manipulated, and used to create limitless opportunities inside and outside.

Benefits of loose parts at Mulberry Corner

We see such variety In the children’s engagements and interactions with each other. Their creativity skills, ability to develop role play ideas and expressive skills with each other exceeds our expectations. The children are so inquisitive and interested in different objects (not only loose parts), that we get a rich environment full ot interesting questions, fantastic vocabularly and excellent problem solving skills. 

Here are just a few of the benefits we have observed...

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Interactions – taking turns, sharing, happy relationships between peers

Collaboration – working together to develop a concept

Mathematical concepts

Subitising – How many without counting?

Measuring – lengths, comparisons

Sorting/ordering – height, shape, length colours

Scientific concepts

Planning – What has been done? What happens at the beginning, during and after?

Communication – ideas, adult/child conversations

Problem Solving!


If you have any questions about how we use loose parts at nursery, or how you could introduce them at home, don't hesiate to ask any of the team! 

Posted on 17th August 2023

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Mulberry Corner Day Nursery and Preschool

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Mulberry Corner
1 and 2 Castle Lane
Chandlers Ford
Hampshire SO53 4PW


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