Monday, December 14, 2020

A Loose Parts Tray: Without Going in Debt

Loose Parts.... Sounds a little weird to say.  While this is not a new concept, I have noticed a resurgence in popularity surrounding flexible materials as educational resources in the last couple of years.  I can’t say that I’m surprised considering how many studies are illustrating the need for more activities that foster imagination, creativity, and critical thinking.  The concept of a “loose parts tray” is basically several ambiguous objects in different shapes.  A child is given the tray to create whatever they want to with the objects. Loose parts are also used as invitational manipulatives for learning.

Most people are easily "on board" with how the simplicity reaps great rewards for the mind, BUT what many are NOT so fond of is the price; myself included.  BUT price has never stopped me before.  If I can see great value, I will find a way to make it happen within my price range.  I made my own loose parts tray for my kids for a fraction of the cost that many companies charge, and it wasn’t hard at all! I want to share these resources with you.

First step, was I ordered this bamboo tray with adjustable dividers.  This was the most expensive part, and it was only $20. I have ordered 3 of these now for displaying our peg dolls, but we have one just for loose parts. I have also since, order a circular bamboo tray (this one actually comes with 2 different sizes) to keep life interesting.

Next I perused Casey’s Wood for all of the loose parts.  This site includes peg dolls, rings, buttons, colored beads, scoops and bowls……and friends, I’m talking like 7 cents a piece for some of these things……..CENTS people!  You can get numerous items for under a dollar!  You don’t have to wait forever for shipping and you’re not charged your right arm.  I mean…..can you pass that up? Some items come painted and others are not.  If you want unpainted you could paint them yourself or paint them with your child.  They would probably have a lot of pride in something that they contributed to. This site also has a lot of things that we have ordered and painted as gifts (e.g. candle stick holders).

Then, lastly, PLAY! Use these resources to play, to build, to keep fingers busy during read-alouds so minds can be active, narration, to strew, or for math facts, sequencing, patterns...honestly the options are limited only by your own imagination. If you follow us on Instagram, you've probably seen us use these resources consistently for years, and I love that they have grown with our family.

xoxo Darby
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