Some of the best toys for children might not look like toys at all! Paper towel tubes, leaves, pots, and pans can all become inspiring playthings.

These kinds of materials can be called “loose parts”—things that can be changed, moved, and used in flexible ways. A loose parts kit can inspire hours of play that helps develop creativity and flexible thinking (simply gather loose parts and put them into a cardboard box).

Gather child-safe loose parts, such as:

  • natural materials such as sticks, sand, and leaves
  • recycled materials such as plastic bottles and jugs, cereal boxes, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, newspaper, and magazines
  • household materials such as pots and pans, wooden spoons, old fabric, and pieces of string

Ask questions such as:

  • What could this become?
  • Is this flexible?
  • Can you draw on this?
  • Can you break this into smaller parts?
  • Can you combine this with something else?

Encourage children to:

  • tear things up
  • tape or glue things together
  • stack, pile, and sort materials
  • stretch out, transform, and recombine materials
  • Reuse items from around the home rather than throw them away

Brought to you by SC Johnson

Helping families stay healthy, connected, and full of curiosity.