The Afterlife of a Sunflower

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.”

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:

Try to replant it.

Pull off the petals.

Pull off the leaves.

Knock it down.

Pull it out of the ground. 

 Pull off more leaves. 

Find creative ways to get the soil off of the roots.  15623050859_6c724c3b44_o

20141104_111738Feed leaves to the chickens.
IMG_1038Make leaf piles around the playground.
20141029_12125120141029_121327Sweep the sand.
20141104_111815 Use a hooked stalk for a crane. 15687827317_383a14b419_o


Keep in villains  with a sturdy jail door.

One sunflower stalk + one stick = crutches. 

Sweep the bridge.20141029_121912 - Copy

 And finally – pogo sticks!