Loose Parts Play

Summary: Give students an opportunity to express their creativity during this unstructured, multi-sensory craft/play time.

For more explanation of loose parts play and its benefits, see our curriculum page.


  • “Loose parts” – plastic containers/bottles, cardboard boxes, paper towel/toilet paper rolls, rope/string, play doh, fabric, paper, tape, glue, etc.


  1. Find a space to conduct the loose parts play. Consider going outside as it is less restrictive and students can use loose parts that they find outdoors.
  2. Invite students to interact with the loose parts and with each other. Interfere as little as possible and encourage students to direct their own play.
  3. Clean-up the space once play and debriefing is over.


  • Angle loose parts play towards the theme “Our Planet” by using only outdoor materials and/or recycled materials.

Debrief Questions:

  • Give students an opportunity to share their experiences. What parts did you play with and how did you use them?
  • [Our Planet angle] What are some other activities you can do to reuse materials? What impact does reusing materials have on the environment?

Grade Level: All grades

Activity Length: Long (>30 minutes)

Messiness Level: Very Messy