“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.”

Simon Nicholson – Theory of Loose Parts

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why loose parts play?

Loose parts are otherwise known as JUNK, and are random objects that can be used in many ways.

The term loose parts was coined by architect Simon Nicolson. He established when designing playgrounds that if they had more ‘open ended’ resources with many  ‘variables’ available, there was more opportunity for innovation, creativity, collaboration, and problem solving skills to emerge. 

Those juicy soft skills are now in hot demand. In-fact,  if we were to google the current top 10 skills needed you will see these skills appear at the top of every list. Play offers the perfect vehicle to practise and hone these soft skills with-in an authentic context.

Loose parts play equally offers kids time to pause and think about how much joy can come from playing with unwanted items destined for landfill. We get many kids asking ‘why would someone throw this away?’.  Loose parts play is where seeds are planted about working together towards a circular economy.

The magic of loose parts play is that we never quite know how it will unfold. Every session brings some new learning for us about the benefits for our tamariki. Some recent teachings are that loose parts play brings…

  • A connection to place and nature
  • A sense of belonging and community across a school
  • Ako – everyone is the teacher and everyone is the learner
  • Stepping outside of comfort zones and taking risks to build resilience
  • Joy

Through our programmes in schools and communities, we aim to: 

  • Activate play in public spaces and educational settings,
  • Engage tamariki, kaiako, and whānau in meaningful waste education, and 
  • Empower schools and communities to deliver loose parts play experiences.

Together, we can turn trash into taonga, and protect children’s right to play!

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

Can you come back every day?

– student

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