Any Which Way . . . Loose Parts Play in the Library

Gretchen Swadley


Many ready-made toys for children come with directions, instruction sheets, or strict rules for usage. While that may be fine in some cases, many believe children can benefit from good old play with a variety of random, unconnected items. After all, some of our earliest ancestors learned many skills from just rocks, sticks, and leaves.

Enter loose parts—a collection of natural or man-made materials that can be used to extend children’s ideas and foster imaginative play. These parts can be moved, arranged, designed, taken apart, or anything else a child can think up.

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