Unearthing Possibilities With Fall’s Loose Parts
Fall is upon us, and with it comes a cornucopia of loose parts to encourage children to unearth the many possibilities that unstructured free play in nature can inspire.
For our Education Director, Jill Bienenstock, the change in season also means training and workshops for early childhood educators and elementary school teachers that take advantage of fall’s loose parts.
Material from almost any natural source can be considered a loose part (think leaves, dirt, bark, pine cones, mulch, rainwater, and snow and ice in colder months).
“Finding, collecting, and manipulating loose parts makes a space dynamic and transformative for play,” says Jill.
Loose parts, she adds, are also valuable teaching tools that can help children make complex connections and understand abstract concepts.
“Something as simple as an acorn, for example, can be used for counting, sorting, and transient art,” says Jill.
From a child’s perspective, the joy of engaging with loose parts largely comes from opportunities to re-imagine and re-create their environments.
By enhancing biodiversity in a play space, loose parts also contribute to the optimum health and well-being of children.
Studies by the world’s most reputable immunologists demonstrate that contact with healthy soil microbes has many physiological and psychological benefits. These include improved immunity and reduced rates of allergies and stress.
“Greater attention spans, enhanced social skills, and an aptitude for environmental stewardship, can all be attributed to more time spent in nature-rich environments,” Jill adds.
Plus, by interacting with loose parts, children develop a respect and care for flora and fauna at a formative time when their brains are still developing.
“You can introduce loose parts in all types of activities to promote all areas of child development, from reinforcing math and science concepts to encouraging language skills,” Jill adds. “And the best part is, fall’s loose parts are readily available, and free for the taking!”
For details about our fall workshops, or to book a session with Jill and her team, call 1-800-306-3319 ext. 170 or send an email.
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