An artist, loose parts expert, and 2 early childhood center directors joined forces to create centerpieces for an upcoming "Celebrating the Profession" dinner and tour, focusing on advocating and celebrating the profession of early childhood. Chris Whitmire from the Early Learning Center gathered us for our strengths in pulling this together. We gathered on two different days, bringing "stuff" with us--baskets, trays, textiles, and so much more! Some of us shopped our stashes, others cleaned out closets, and we all hit the thrift stores and garage sales. Our first day we started trying to pull things together that seemed to go together or provoke potential activities that were still very open ended and could be used in many ways. We had piles and piles of great stuff! We sorted, categorized, and grouped things together.
As part of the display, we chose brown paper squares, with some questions around the provocations:
What might you add? How might these be used? What might you ask?
We toyed with the idea of making more specific questions for each invitation, but ultimately decided on these basic questions.
We made several of these baskets with curtain and napkin rings (wooden, plastic, etc.), bangles, lots of tassels, Mardi Gras beads, canning jar lids, ribbons, pipe cleaners, and a mug holder. Each varies slightly. We couldn't find a good book pairing yet--any good ideas?
Chris found a ton of great books from the Goodwill in Niles (I think they must have better books than ours) to pair with the provocations. They were not necessarily "loose parts" books, but many had plenty of loose parts or were connected to the provocation in some way.
This set included lots of tubes and balls. I expect things will be rolling!
Another set of metals, magnets, and colorful papers!
This is chock full of tools (magnifying glass, tape measure, rulers, sliding rulers, and more!), a nesting doll, maps of all sorts, clipboard and other stuff! Imagine the adventures!
Faces! Rolie Polie Olie is the book, I guess from an old television show, but his character really spoke to these items. Lots of magnets, magnetic face pieces, a metal background, colorful mosaic magnetic tiles, bottle caps, and more!
Elizabeth Keller, the artist from Luly K Studio, was going through a huge purge. She was happy to see things she no longer needs go to such a purposeful project. We had some really neat items as a result! I cut tree cookies, gathered rocks and sweet gum balls, and scoured our local thrift stores for baskets, trays, and more.
This includes fabric pieces, cardboard, and lots of people with many interchangeable faces.
We started this with the intent of using Roxaboxen with it, but then found another book inexpensively, Ten Old Pails, that worked well with it and didn't need to be ordered. Rocks, spools, samples from Trex used as blocks, bottle caps, pails, etc.! It's all in a crate--thinking back to Roxaboxen. Have you done anything with this book?
King Jack and the Dragon was a fun fort building and imaginative play book! I found lots of tall candleholders and paired the with sweet gum balls, tree cookies, and pictures of buildings around the world, along with another nesting doll. These are so precious!
I printed a few items to go with just a couple of the provocations. These provide additional support for these concepts, yet do not have to be used. Books on butterflies with natural items of many sorts, fabric, rocks, pom poms, feathers, pipe cleaners, little butterfly stands, etc.
Scrabble tiles and holders, chalk and chalkboard, tiny mirrors, tags, and more! Literacy invitation!
Velcro hair rollers, pipe cleaners, velcro straps, a colorful colander, and plates! Book suggestion?
Tassles, ribbons, rings, bracelets, napkin holders, and canning lid rings paired well with a mug stand!
All kinds of writing and mark making supplies, along with scrabble tiles, roll of paper, and Ten Thank You Letters.
Bird magnets, egg carton, wooden eggs, and nest building supplies, along with My Goose Betsy.
Faces potentially built in frames were inspiration for this provocation with ribbons, feathers, round items, natural bits and pieces, and more. Paired with a book on drawing faces, though there are many other great faces books!
Nest building materials, an egg carton, pictures of birds, wooden eggs, and a book on eggs will brighten up someone's spring, along with The Happy Egg.
This wire basket became a great weaving frame. We will attach information on loose parts to each provocation.
For some provocations, we had plenty of supplies and were able to make numerous invitations, with each having a unique flair and signature pieces.
Additionally, Jennifer Long from Discoveries Infant Toddler Center and Imaginations Preschool will also be making several toddler themed baskets. She had a good critical eye and asked needed questions in the process.
These will be raffled off at the celebration, with lots of loose parts provocations making their way back to centers in the northern part of Indiana! Fantastic! I hope we get to see how they will be used as well.
Is this the only way to do loose parts? Of course not! The possibilities are endless! Check out my post on the Theory of Loose Parts and 30+ Ways to Approach Loose Parts! Find Loose Parts Play on Facebook today! Check out the Loose Parts Nature Play podcast as well!