Loose Parts: Simple Materials, Big Outcomes – Natural Materials

Loose Parts: Simple Materials, Big Outcomes
What are loose parts? Simple, movable, open-ended, engaging, imaginative, and creative materials that produce major outcomes! There are endless possibilities and benefits of implementing loose parts into your classroom and outside on the playground. Check out some natural loose parts to include in your learning environment.

Loose Parts: Simple Materials, Big Outcomes – Synthetic Materials

Loose Parts: Simple Materials, Big Outcomes
What are loose parts? Simple, movable, open-ended, engaging, imaginative, and creative materials that produce major outcomes! There are endless possibilities and benefits of implementing loose parts into your classroom and outside on the playground. Check out some synthetic loose parts to include in your learning environment.

How do I help my child get ahead academically?

How do I help my child get ahead academically? How can I make sure my child is on track academically? The answer will surprise you! Let them play! Discover how playing supports all domains of child development and helps prepare your child for school!

A Childhood is Not Complete without Play

I love this video. I share it a lot. I mean A LOT! If you haven’t seen it yet, take time and watch as Dr. Peter Gray so eloquently explains how the decline of play increases anxiety, depression, and narcissism in children and adolescents.

I get asked frequently by parents of young children how can they help their child get ahead? My answer is play.  Just let them play. Encourage play. Allow for good, old fashioned, screen-free play. Unfortunately, it is not the answer everyone is looking for. It seems too simple to be true. As a result, children are not getting the opportunities they need and deserve to play and because of that, they are actually lagging behind.  Don’t believe me? Watch the video!

 

How do I find a preschool that teaches my child to write?

How do I find a preschool that teaches my child to write?

As parents, we always want to ensure our children are adequately prepared for school if not ahead.  One of the criteria we look for involves teaching children how to write their names and the alphabet.  Although this is important and is a skill that is eventually needed in elementary school, learning to create a story and a message and then convey it to paper is just as important and is learned best through play.  With this video, discover standards to look for in preschools as well as questions to ask the school administration and staff about their approach to the writing process.

Other information pertaining to looking for developmentally appropriate preschools:

 

How does play teach my child to write?

How does play teach my child to write?

Play is the best way to prepare young children for kindergarten.  It is amazing the educational skills learned when playing including the ability to write and create stories.  Explore how dramatic play, block play, and outside play all provide opportunities for young children to develop creative storytelling skills needed to be successful writers in the elementary, middle, and high school years.

When outside time does not allow time with the “outside”

Being in my field, I always pay attention to early learning centers and schools while driving around.  Obviously, since I can only see the outside of the center from my car, I pay close attention to the design and makeup of the playgrounds.

I am amazed at how many school playgrounds have nothing …. natural.  The playground equipment is metal and plastic.  The toys are metal and plastic.  The bicycles are metal and plastic.  The ground is rubber.  No part of nature is available at all when children go outside to play.  No grassNo sandNo trees or plantsNo wood.  And, due to awnings that cover the entire playground, some of them allow no access to the sun.

Author Richard Louv introduced the term “Nature-Deficit Disorder” in 2005 with the publication of his best-selling book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” He coined the phrase to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from nature and it is not meant to be a medical diagnosis (although perhaps it should be).

In a time when children are staying inside attached to digital technology more than ever, the least schools can do is provide actual access to the natural outside world.

The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need. – Richard Louv

What can schools do?  Bring back the sand box.  Plant some grass.  Provide loose parts made out of wood, rocks, sticks, shells, and really anything that comes from the outside world.  Use wood mulch for the ground covering.  Just think natural.

What can we do at home?  The same thing.

We know children need to playing more, but let’s make sure they are also interacting with nature as well!

 

Here are some great blog posts to give some ideas for a natural playground.

How to Create Natural Playscapes

Ideas for Adding Natural Play Elements to Your Outdoor Play Space

Create a Natural Playscape in Your Own Backyard