Saturday, April 16, 2016

Loose Parts Books!

Like this? Follow my page, Loose Parts Play, on Facebook! Find our international GROUP, Loose Parts Play, there as well. Also check out my blog section just on Loose Parts Play.

If you read the blog, you know I love loose parts! I was excited to find a cartoon while flipping through Netflix recently that was full of loose parts that come alive! Have you heard of Lily's Driftwood Bay? A 6-year-old girl lives near the beach and collects various treasures, which become her friends and adventure. I had to watch it after my 3-year-old did so I could see all the loose parts play aspects. Pretty cool!

We went to a museum recently that actually lacked loose parts for the most part, but that contains a library with some pretty neat books. I was happy to be introduced to a few new books, especially ones with loose parts in them. My 7-year-old is all about creating, inventing, and building things, so these were perfect books to share with him.

One book we found is called "Fraidyzoo". Honestly, the title took me a while to figure out--it's a play on Fraidy Cat, as a girl is afraid of going to the zoo. Her family comes up with various zoo creations out of loose parts to help her get used to the ideas of the zoo. It works and they have a fun time there. I really enjoyed the drawing depicting loose parts put together for these animals. Check out just the title! Loose parts everywhere! Cardboard boxes can become so many things, like the rhinoceros on the right side. Tilt screen to view. :-) This is a picture book with minimal text, yet I loved all the combinations of possibilities. This is appropriate for preschool through grade 3, though it may need to make an appearance at my next presentation on Loose Parts Play!

Another book we really liked is Rosie Revere, Engineer. Rosie is a girl who is always squirreling away odds and ends for her engineering projects as a young girl. I can relate to this as my 7-year-old's eyes get so big when he finds a new object to add to his stash. He most recently discovered duct tape (Thanks, Cory and Holly) and is in heaven! Rosie's aunt is Rosie the Riveter whose only regret is not flying, so Rosie the younger sets out to make a flying machine. However, the machine falls flat. 


I loved this quote on the page, "With each perfect failure, they all stand and cheer, but none quite as proudly as Rosie Revere." Rosie soon appreciated that we learn from mistakes and can use them to inform future projects. I love all the bits and baubles combined for creations.

Another book that caught my attention was Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking. I'm working on a nature inspired tinkering program right now, so this fits in nicely. The book itself is made up of a collage of papers and shapes, showing the natural world. The author suggests we can learn so much from nature if we just investigate, using specific examples of how nature works and inspires thinking.

The author talked of dung beetles finding direction from the Milky Way and leaves a note explaining how we learn from nature and how it can inspire our thinking! This one is not as loose parts focused; however, it reminds us to look for inspiration in nature! It espouses the idea of tinkering and creating. It shows how animals solve problems.

Have you found any Loose Parts Play books? Please share if you do!

I found another book for my list. Scraps! by Lois Ehlert, shares how the author/illustrator grew up surrounded by scraps of life and uses those many scraps in her artwork and books. I loved it! See my review here.

I shared this in a couple of online groups, such as Loose Parts Play (I host this!) and Loose Parts and Intelligent Playthings. They had additional suggestions! I'm excited to check these out soon!

The Most Magnificent Thing is about a girl determined to make the most magnificent thing ever! She gets discouraged as it isn't working out exactly as planned. Her dog takes her for a walk and upon her return, she is refreshed and ready to keep working with her bits and parts to make the most magnificent thing! Thanks for the suggestion, Linda and Kristina!

Andrew Henry's Meadow is classic I had not encountered before. Andrew feels a little left out as a middle child (I am one, too!) and sneaks out to the meadow and starts building. Other children start joining him. He builds them interesting houses. Soon, the parents are looking for the kids and the children are looking for the adults. Everyone ends up happy and Andrew is allowed to continue working on his creations in the basement. Thanks for the suggestion, Sherah and Tessa!

Have Fun Molly Lou Melon is a great book about learning from grandmother who didn't grow up with all the various plastic toys that often line our houses today. Her grandmother teaches her how she had fun with twigs, leaves, and flowers. Boxes become race cars and clouds become fascinating television programming. Thanks for the suggestion, Jill!

Roxaboxen sounds delightful! Children claim a rocky hill full of sand, rocks, wooden boxes, and cactus; however, it turns into a magical place for them to create a whole city, including money made out of pebbles! Thanks for the suggestion, Rondee and Allison!

Lucy's Picture takes place mostly in art class while people are painting. However, Lucy wants to do her art differently, as she would like to share it with her blind grandfather. She incorporates velvet, feathers, twigs, and other found objects for a picture her grandfather can "see" with his hands! Thanks for the suggestion, Rhona!

Leaf Man is another book I love. We check this out at least every year to the point where I recently purchased it after going on a Lois Ehlert binge! "Leaf Man" is traveling in the fall, passing the ducks and geese, pumpkins, squash, orchards, meadows, lake, river, along the river, with the butterflies, over the mountains, and more! It leaves you with the invitation to find Leaf Man blowing near you! Honestly, I love all of her illustrations and find that she incorporates many loose parts and natural bits and pieces in her work. Check out my review of her autobiography, Scraps, for other books I like by Ehlert. Thanks for the suggestion, Stacy!


Let's Make Faces  immediately caught my eye! We make "nature faces" in so many ways with natural elements. These are more found elements in the book, yet I love the open inspiration to play and experiment with loose parts in making faces. Thanks for the suggestion, Kristina! Here is a blog post on how she used it. Loved the use of the light table with it.

Not a Box and Not a Stick are simple books with simple line drawings showing that the box is really not a box, but a racecar or a spaceship (and so on) or the stick is really a fishing pole catching a shark or a sword in medieval times. I will read one as I bring loose parts to a school to get ideas flowing before we start working with loose parts.

If You Find a Rock looks at finding rocks along one's journey and the many things the rock can be, such as a skipping rock, a drawing rock, a group of sifting rocks, a place to sit, etc.  It uses real photos and is delightful! I LOVE rocks and have a decent collection, so this rock pairs nicely with many open ended rock activities.

The Button Box shows a boy opening his grandmother's button box and sorting through the treasures. It also shows how buttons could come from shells, wood, deer antlers, and more. He makes a string and button toy, counts his "gold" as he puts them back, and then ends with a little history on buttons. I also played with my grandmother's button box. Do people still have button boxes? I hope so!

Hannah's Collections focuses on a girl and her collections. She is a great collector, but is asked to bring only one collection to school. She sorts, categorizes, and explores her collections as she decides what she will take. Thanks for the share, BJ!

Elizabeti's DollElizabeti has a new baby brother, but no doll of her own. She found a rock just the right size and named it Eva. When the baby had a bath, so did the rock baby. Elizabeti was a good mother to her “baby”, yet the rock is lost while she is doing her chores. They are reunited as she cooks over the stone fire pit.

Something from NothingJoseph’s grandfather gave him a blanket as a baby. As it gets worn, grandfather snips it into a jacket. As the jacket is too small, it becomes a vest. The blanket then becomes a tie, handkerchief, and a button. Joseph has “just enough” paper to then make a wonderful story.  
Salad PieMaggie is enjoying her time alone in the park making “salad pie”  until Herbert shows up. He tries to add to her salad pie, but she doesn’t want his help. He persists, saving her and the salad at the bottom of the slide. Thanks, Kimberly G.!
  MattlandA young boy who has moved many times is not happy and just about to break a stick in anger. The stick feels good in his hand and he draws Snake River. A nearby puddle is Turtle Lake.  A road and town spring up about the space. A girl brings extra provisions. The rain threatens the new town, but nearby children save the day as Matt finds new friends.
Charlie's House A young boy in humble circumstances builds an even better house and car of mud and scraps after seeing his own house built. His imagination takes him on a ride in the car! Thanks for the suggestion, Tricia L. 
On My Beach there are many Pebbles Suggested by Hannah P.--thanks!

Henry's Amazing Machine: Thanks, Judi Z.

The Perfect Purple Feather: Thanks, Jeanne Z. 

If You Find a Rock: Thanks, Michelle, T.!
Rhoda's Rock Hunt Thanks, Rania F.!
Faces: Thanks, Sally H.!
The Line Up Book: Thanks, Nancy H.!
Treasures of the Heart: Thanks, Nancy, H.! 
More: Thanks, Nancy H.! 
If Rocks Could Sing: Thanks, Nancy H.!
The Cleanup Surprise: Thanks, Sandy H.!
It Zwibble and the Greatest Clean-up Ever: Thanks, Sandy H.!
Harry's Hand: Thanks, Samantha C.!
Galimoto: Thanks, Sue L.P.!
Mr. Cornell's Dream Big Boxes: Thanks, Sue L.P.!
Dream Something Big: Thanks, Sue L.P.!
Everybody Needs a Rock: Thanks, Diane O.!

More Lists! 
Block Building Books on Loose Parts Play
Valentine's Nature and Loose Parts Books
Rocks as a Loose Part
Books for Tinkering Inspiration! 

Here is another list that was suggested on tinkering and inventing! This is right up my 7-year-old son's alley!

Cynthia is also working on a loose parts inspired book!

Like this? Follow my page, Loose Parts Play, on Facebook! Find our internationalGROUPLoose Parts Play, there as well. Also check out my blog section just on Loose Parts Play.

This post may contain affiliate links.