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Loose Parts Fridays
Collective PLAY




During this period of closure for Collective and for schools, we're inviting you to join us from your living room, kitchen, garden or bedroom for a series of weekly loose parts play activities.

The term 'loose parts play' was coined by architect Simon Nicholson in 1971, and describes materials which can be moved, carried, manipulated, combined, lined up, stacked, knocked over, taken apart and put back together in multiple different ways. Loose parts play utilises these materials for free, open-ended, child-led play which builds confidence, supports creativity and encourages innovation and problem solving.

We encourage you to follow your child’s lead and support them to try out their own ideas using loose parts, but we’ll also be bringing you ‘Play Prompts‘ every Friday for the next 4 weeks.

WEEK 1: Loose Parts Toolkit
The first task is to put together your Loose Parts Toolkit, collecting objects from around your house and making them available for play. When gathering loose parts, try to choose around 8-12 objects with a range of properties which could have many different uses: the most creative play comes from choice and variety. Children will also enjoy being part of the selection process, treat this like a scavenger hunt for interesting textures, shapes, and colours.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Egg boxes
Plastic fruit and veg trays
Wooden spoon
Plastic bag
Wool or string
Old socks
Rubber gloves
Twigs and leaves

We’d love to see what loose parts you’ve found in your house, and what you’ve been making with them. Use #collectiveplay to share your loose parts photos and stories with us on our social media channels – each week we’ll be featuring some of our favourites.

WEEK 2: Isolation Instruments
This week we’re getting inspired by stories from around the world of people finding ways to connect while in isolation by sharing music and songs with their neighbours from balconies, windows and gardens.

Can you use your Loose Parts Toolkit to make an instrument, or an object for making sound? Could you create something to shake, bang, twang or pluck? How about inventing a way to make your voice or instrument louder? Try performing a concert for your neighbours from your window tonight.

We’d love to see your weird and wonderful noise-makers! Use the hashtag #collectiveplay to share your loose parts photos and stories – each week we’ll be featuring some of our favourites.

WEEK 3: Window on the World
You may have noticed lots of windows being decorated with rainbows in your area, helping to lift the spirits of passers-by. This week, we're asking you to use your window as a canvas.

Can you make a display or decoration for people walking by to see? Maybe you'll make a rainbow by painting or colouring some of your loose parts, create a display of some of the things you’ve been making, or perhaps start a game with your neighbours?

WEEK 4: The Perfect Park
While we're all staying indoors as much as possible at the moment, parks have become an important part of many people's daily exercise, but it can be difficult to play in and explore them in the same ways we used to.

This week, have a go at making your own perfect park in miniature! Maybe you're dreaming of a skate park with ramps, rails and ridges? Or perhaps you could use your loose parts to design the perfect playground with rope swings, see-saws and roundabouts?

WEEK 5: Dens

Are you getting fed up of looking at the same rooms in your house? This week we're asking you to use your loose parts to make a whole new space within a space. You might need to gather some additional loose parts for this: blankets, pillows and soft things will work well.

There are lots of different ways to build a den or fort, and we'd like to see how creative you can be! How many people can fit inside your den? Does it have a door? Or windows? Maybe it even has some furniture made from your loose parts inside?

Friday 15 May

For the next four Loose Parts Fridays, our Play Prompts will suggest a single object as a starting point for your child’s play. We recommend introducing the object alongside any craft materials you may have at home, then following your child’s lead and supporting them to try out their own ideas.

This week’s object is…a potato!

You can mash them, boil them, bake them or roast them to transform the humble potato into something wondrous and the same goes for using them for play. Will yours be carved, rolled, balanced, hollowed, dropped from a height or used to poke things into?

Friday 15 May
This week’s object is…an egg box!

These nobbly bobbly boxes make great objects for playing – they can be cut up into interesting shapes, torn into pieces, stacked up, doodled on, used as places to hide things, or to sort things.

Friday 22 May
This week’s object is… string!

Long and looping or tied tightly into knots, string or ribbon can be used in many different ways for play – it’s great for wrapping, dangling, swinging, tracing, tying, skipping, decorating and chopping.

We can’t wait to see what your string has become! Share your loose parts photos, stories and ideas using #collectiveplay, or by emailing [email protected]