Loose Parts Ideas: Find some loose parts ideas for your kindergarten classroom to add to your hands-on learning. Natural and bought materials to enhance your centers and activities for play-based learning.
I started to collect loose part materials about 5 years ago. I use them in every area of the classroom, and my students love to use them in their play. A few times I have been asked to share what materials I have, and where I got them from.
I will do my best to tell you what I have and where I got them, but some of these materials came from my teaching partner or other teachers on our kindergarten team. So I hope my pictures provide you with inspiration on how you can incorporate loose parts into your classroom and some ideas on where to find them.
Materials can be found just about anywhere; your home, hardware store, craft store, outside. Basically, anything fun that you see that you think would inspire your students can be added to your loose parts collection!
I have added affiliate links to Amazon for some of the items that I could find for your convenience.
They can be found in just about any dollar/craft store. They come in different colours and sizes. In my experience, students love using gems in their play. They can pretend they are so many different things, and enjoy their texture and colours.
Depending on the time of the year, stores might have different colours of gems available so it’s worth looking back often to see what other items they have. These are from Halloween at the Dollar Store.
These wood buttons are great for fine motor practice for several different activities. They can thread them, manipulate them, use them with pipe cleaners. They are versatile and come in different materials and colours.
I have used them with math activities, literacy centers, or in dramatic play centers. These wooden buttons are from a dollar store called Dollar Tree (the amber gems are from the craft store Michaels).
Tiles and Wooden Blocks
More items are to be found at the dollar store that students can use during math and literacy centers. Our students love the colours and how they can use them to outline and build sight words or numbers.
We have a set of these different sight words, letters, and number outline sheets that we can add to our loose parts centers to inspire students to create during literacy centers.
Wood Sticks and Rocks
Rocks can be found just about anywhere, and they are so perfect for kindergarten students. There is something about rocks that invokes the imagination of children, and they transform into so many different things.
Wooden Letters and Numbers
These wooden letters were bought at Dollarama, and I bought wooden numbers (not pictured) at Michaels. They are great for introducing literacy and numbers into your loose parts center and allow children to use them in different ways.
I know some people would argue that including these does not truly constitute loose parts, but I would completely disagree. I have noticed students using these letters in different ways, and they are fun to build sight words with!
Letter and Number Rocks and Wood Discs
I made these over the summer for our students to use. You can see how I made these in my previous post by going here.
Loose Parts Storage Ideas
These clear plastic containers are a great way to store all your loose parts when they are not in use. They are on the shelf where students can take whatever they need, and they can see what is there.
You can get colourful popsicle sticks at the dollar or craft store, they also come in different sizes. This student used them to make tally marks while at our loose parts center during math. She rolled a die twice and represented the number using tallies. Then, she made the addition and equals sign and came up with the answer and represented it again with tallies. She then used our subitizing mushrooms to represent the numbers also. This was all done on her own and I was really impressed with what she had done with the materials!
loose parts ideas
We were working on labeling our pictures during our Guided Writing the week that this picture was taken. The child labeled the picture they made with gems! Such a fun way to use the materials, and they are still working on their literacy skills.
This one really blew me away! This student used our wooden sticks to make patterns (we haven’t even started that in math yet), and labeled the picture!
This student wanted to make shapes, patterns, and letters with loose parts!
This is our dramatic play center. One of our students asked me if they could take gems there, to make ‘Halloween treats’. Love how they were using the different materials in their play!
I hope you have found some inspiration for your own loose parts play with these photos. I will continue to post pictures of our loose parts play in action, so make sure you check back often for more ideas.
What materials do you include to inspire your students to play and learn?
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