Stories from partner schools
It’s helpful to have a collection of stories to dip into when you want to explain the value of loose parts play. Stories, quotes and ‘snapshots’ (a picture with a small number of words) can be used to enrich loose parts play training and development activities.
Listen out for stories like these and note them down. Ask children, parents and or colleagues to gather them too. The stories here were gathered during the loose parts play project and can be used to bring loose parts play ideas and theory to life.
Opportunities afforded by a simple crate
A large storage crate has been turned on its side, creating a cubby hole. Children bring over a ladder and climb on top. They go up and down, often pausing at the top to look across the playground. New children arrive. “Climb it, climb it, climb it,” children chant.
Once on top, a child shouts, “Now get off so you can watch TV. Don’t you want to watch TV?”
He shouts at some other children, “Hey guys, who wants to watch TV?”
Four children squeeze into the cubby hole. Someone shouts, “There’s a spider in here,” and they all run out. The chant of “climb it, climb it, climb it” starts again.
Story and photographs from Windygoul Primary School, Scotland
The cleaning lady put the mop in the schoolyard to dry and the girls came and, since they saw it as loose parts, took it and cleaned the little mud kitchen corner with it. It was so cute and funny!
Story and photograph from Základná škola Adolfa Majthényiho s vyučovacím jazykom maďarským - Majthényi Adolf Alapiskola, Slovakia
One day, we decided to throw away the old castle that stood in our Hall because its structure was no longer stable and the castle kept falling over.
To give it a second life, we took it outside to the GratoSfera space (loose parts play space). In an instant, it transformed from a heavy stone castle into a light, gliding rocket. For this, the boys took headphones with a microphone so they could connect with the ‘airbase’.
As they 'flew above the ground', they saw a boy who was sitting on a wooden reel, fishing with a rod made from a broom handle.
They asked him:
- Henry, what are you doing?
- I am fishing for myself.
Henry wants to be a farmer when he grows up. His games allude to his contact with nature and what he wants to be in the future.
The rocket flew on and as they flew closer, they saw a stage, on which a performance entitled "Carrot" was taking place. A boy standing on the stage held a long cardboard tube, which symbolised a carrot, and he instructed the children standing around how to peel the carrot properly. Nearby, a kitchen was built where the carrots went for lunch.
Story and photographs from Szkoła Podstawowa nr 5 im. Jana Pawła II, g, Poland
There is a small shed, like a little house, in the garden for children to play in. The little shed was donated to the school after being used in the village Christmas scene. They do all kind of things in there, playing being a family, having it as a little store, etc. One day they were organising its cleaning and the children assigned roles among themselves: someone was getting the shovel and the broom, someone was arranging the objects in the shed, someone was brushing, etc.
They asked for a teacher’s help only once because the shelf-system collapsed. The teacher climbed inside and saw the shelf system really was in pieces - its holder had fallen down from the hooks and the children couldn’t put it back because it was too heavy. They did everything else by themselves, and this was a point where they rightfully realised that they needed help.
Story and photographs from Iskolánk tanulóiért Alapítvány, Hungary