We are firm believers in the theory of loose parts.
“…in play, loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned,
lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials.
Loose parts can be natural or synthetic…. such as stones, stumps, sand, gravel, fabric,
twigs, wood, pallets, balls, buckets, baskets, crates, boxes, logs, stones, flowers, rope,
tyres, balls, shells and seedpods…. Often you will find that children would rather play with materials that they can use and adapt as they please, rather than expensive pieces of play equipment…. Children playing with loose parts are using more creativity and imagination and developing more skill and competence than they would playing with most modern plastic toys.” http://ncaeyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/The-theory-of-loose-parts.pdf
In the spring we planted sunflower seeds on the playground and we knew that we would enjoy the flowers and the seeds in the fall. What we didn’t know was that the afterlife of the sunflowers would provide us with days’ worth of loose parts and creative play. Some of the ways you play with a sunflower: