Junky Monkeys spreads joy, and prioritises well-being in schools and communities.

We believe that play is the most effective vehicle for learning, as it places student well-being at the heart of the matter. Since 2017, we have facilitated hundreds of joyful open-ended play experiences in schools and community events, and supported schools in activating their own loose parts programmes. Our goal is to spread the transformative power of loose parts play throughout Aotearoa.

why loose parts play?

‘Have you ever noticed that if you leave old junk lying around, kids will almost
inevitably play with it? Whether it be old cardboard boxes, wooden pallets, pieces of
wood, old tyres, bits of rope or string, kids will use their imagination and
ingenuity to make something… In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it.’

‘How not to cheat our children: The Theory of Loose Parts.’ S Nicholson 1971

Loose parts, often referred to as “junk,” are random objects that can be used in countless ways. The term “loose parts” was coined by architect Simon Nicholson, who discovered that playgrounds with more open-ended resources and variables fostered greater opportunities for innovation, creativity, collaboration, empathy, and problem-solving skills.

These valuable soft skills are sometime referred to as 21st century skills. The demand for them is growing, especially  as we move toward an unknown future where mental health and well-being are increasingly important.  Loose parts play provides the perfect environment to practice and hone these soft skills within a safe and engaging context.

Loose parts play also gives kids the chance to realise the joy that can come from playing with items otherwise destined for landfill. Many children often ask, “Why would someone throw this away?”. Loose parts play can start conversations about waste minimisation and a circular economy, encouraging them to think more about co-creating a sustainable world.

What people say about us

Students explored different possibilities in a stress free environment. They took risks and didn’t worry about failures. They were proud to discuss what they were doing/creating with different adults. They did not think about technology, language, vocabulary, process, or product whilst learning. Learning took place as a natural process and the students imagination ran wild.

– Kaiako

This programme reinforced the need for play across our Year 1-8 group. The teachers definitely observed the benefits and are keen to make loose parts play a regular occurrence at our School.

– Kaiako

Whoever created Junky Monkeys is a genius. This is the best day ever.

– student