Famous Olympian Michael Phelps said 'When you use your imagination anything can happen.' Studies have shown that when a person can clearly imagine themselves doing a task, such as throwing a ball into a hoop, they can trick their brain into thinking ...
Why is imagination so important growing up?
Fostering children's imaginations with loose parts
Famous Olympian Michael Phelps said 'When you use your imagination anything can happen.' Studies have shown that when a person can clearly imagine themselves doing a task, such as throwing a ball into a hoop, they can trick their brain into thinking they can confidently carry out the task. When it is their turn to physically throw the ball into the hoop they have the confidence in themselves that it will go well because they have used their imagination to visualise all the steps they need to take to get the ball into the hoop successfully. Using your imagination is a skill that we have to build and practice, but the more you exercise this skill the more it becomes second nature to use is, just like learning how to walk. The best way to practice this skills is providing children with open-ended materials, flexible play invitations and spaces where their creativity can be fostered and their ideas are listened to and respected.
One way to encourage children to use their imagination is to introduce loose parts into their play. Loose parts are open-ended, multi-functional objects that can be adapted for play in many different ways to create infinite possibilities, such as representing characters or objects. They can be manipulated by stacking, sorting, bending, matching and taking them apart to suit the needs of the child in that moment. Loose parts can be specific items that you can purchase, such as, our Tickit range. Or items that you can find in your recycling bin and outdoors, such as, clean bottle tops, empty boxes, sticks, stones, kitchen rolls tubes and ice cream sticks.
By adding loose parts into your child's playroom/classroom you can extend the possibilities for the toys you already have. Open-ended materials open new dimensions for children by opening a space where they can use their imagination to insert them into their already existing idea of their toys and how to use them. Loose parts can also grow with your child and can be adapted to their ever-changing likes and interests as there is always more than one way that you can use them.
Unlock Creativity and Imagination with Engaging Loose Parts Play Ideas
Remember when you're setting up tuff trays for children they don't have to look perfect or be perfectly organised, you can simply put the toys and materials on the tray and let the children decided how to set it up and where to put them. By giving the children the freedom and space to decide where, how and what their play will look like they are problem solving, decision making, using their higher order thinking skills such as predicting and assessing while also promoting their self-esteem and confidence that their ideas are worth trying and listening to.
Discover hidden gems with a Treasure Hunt
Why not make a game of trying to collect and find items around your home that you can use as loose parts? Grab our Tickit Translucent Colour Paddle Set and our Tickit Wooden Rainbow Bowls (or any coloured bowls you have) and make a loose part treasure hunt. Everyone picks one paddle each and they have to try and find items of that colour to collect and bring back to your tuff tray/container/table. Continue this until you have enough items or everyone had a turn. Have a look at all the items you collected from around your area and decided how you can play with them. Can you add them to water with some water tools? Do you need some building blocks to create structures? Do you need some large shapes to match to the items? The possibilities are endless.
Explore Endless Possibilities in the Small World Play
Add the following to a tuff tray/ table:
- Tickit Wooden Rainbow Architect Set
- Tickit Rainbow Community People /Tickit Wooden Beechwood Figures /Or whatever small world characters or animals you have.
- Just blocks or any other building blocks you have
- Bottle tops
- Empty boxes
Experience the Magic of Sensory Play
Add the following to a tuff tray/container with sides:
- Tickit Small Colour Crystal Treasures /any of our Tickit Wooden Treasures Range
- Sensory base; leaves /rice /pasta /lentils /homemade playdough /sand /sticks (whatever is easier for you to access)
- Fine motor tools: Bigjigs spade /Tickit Fine Motor Tongs /Sand and Water tools /Spoons
- Bowls or containers: Colour sorting bowls
Organize and Play with Wooden Sorting and Storage
Loose parts can be tricky to store as they are all different sizes, shapes and textures. For best access and storage we suggest our Wooden Tinker Array Tray, Yellow Door Wooden Tinker Tray, Tickit Wooden Tinker Box, or our Tickit Wooden Discovery Box range. These tinker trays, array trays and discovery boxes are the perfect multipurpose item as they can both be used for storage of small and loose parts to use again but they can also be used in play scenarios for sorting, matching and collecting items with similar shapes, colours, numbers, etc.
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