Does your kid adore playing outdoors and using their imagination? If you’re wondering where to find loose part play materials, look no further. Loose parts are extraordinary materials to incorporate into play because they offer the opportunity to build, create, deconstruct, and rebuild. Loose parts can easily be found in places such as garage sales, friends and family donations, Facebook Marketplace, and much more. This article will offer an in-depth look into the world of loose part play and where to find materials to create the perfect outdoor inspiration. We’ll reveal specific items to search for and other valuable resources for parents and caregivers who want to provide the children they care for with the opportunity to be creative and engaged in outdoor play. Get ready to discover the beauty of loose part play!
What is a Loose Part?
Loose parts are open-ended objects children can use to build, create and play. They are often recycled natural or found materials. They don't have a fixed purpose and can be used in a multitude of ways. Check out our seasonal loose part lists to find inspiration for what sort of materials make great loose parts. ( Spring, Winter)
The challenge with loose parts is they are often things that are expensive to buy new, or are not things found in typical stores and places. They are often recycled or natural materials that require some ingenuity to procure. Here are some tips and tricks for finding and securing your own loose parts collection.
Ask Friends and Family.. and Keep Asking
Seriously, especially in the spring people are cleaning out sheds and garages. Ask your friends and family to save things for you. When your friends get a new set of tires, ask them to save the old tires for you. If you have family doing a big renovation ask them to set aside any scrap material for you. This can be a great affordable way to build your loose parts collection. You may have to ask a few times and showcase what you are doing with materials to get people on board with helping out, but there is plenty of resources in every community. Keep in mind this can be a slower method to acquire materials and is generally dependant on who is in your community.
Buy and Sell, Free Stuff and Garage Sales!
This is a great place to get cheaper loose parts materials. Watch your community buy and sell groups on facebook, check out local garage sales or flea markets, and keep an eye out for free stuff signs in alleys. These can be great resources to build your loose parts collection and often have very cheap or free materials.
Habitat for Humanity Re-stores
Across Canada Habitat for Humanity has restores filled with building materials and more at low costs. These are treasure troves for loose part supplies and are a great place to look if you are searching for lots of materials on a short timeline and have a medium to large budget. You can also hit your local hardware store for any specific materials you may be interested in adding to your collection but be aware buying new comes with the highest price tag.
Loose Part Collections can take Time!
Building an incredible collection of loose parts takes time and effort. It's not as simple as ordering a playroom full of toys from a catalogue, but filling your outdoor play spaces with loose parts will be incredibly rewarding and provide endless hours of creative play.
Wherever you find your loose parts you can be sure it will lead to hours of fun, creativity, and learning.