Let’s face it, infants and toddlers are experts at tinkering. What better materials to tinker with than loose parts? Loose parts are essentially any open-ended material that can be used in a variety of ways.

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Introducing loose parts to infants and toddlers can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.  With 3 simple steps, we will break down how to introduce loose parts to infants and toddlers.

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1. Start small

When planning to introduce loose parts to young children, plan to start small.  You don’t want to overwhelm them with too many options. A good rule of thumb is to start with 3-5 options for a classroom of 8-12 infants/toddlers.  From there, you can slowly introduce more and rotate out as needed.

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2. Think BIG!

Remember loose parts do not have to be small pieces.  For infants and toddlers, it is best to offer larger loose parts since they are still very oral and most objects are a choking hazard.

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Large plastic cups are great loose parts for fulfilling toddlers love of stacking!

3. Provide a variety of textures and aesthetics.

Infants and toddlers thrive on sensory experiences. By providing loose parts that feed their sensory needs, you are allowing them to build deeper connections as they build their knowledge of the world around them.

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This block area features a variety of textured loose parts: Soft cotton balls, rough wood cookies, shiny metal, and smooth blocks. The mirror also adds a reflective depth to add to the sensory experience.

Looking for ideas on what loose parts to introduce? Click here for a list of my favorite loose parts for infants and toddlers.

Do you have a tip to share? Drop it in the comments below!

Also, click here to check out my other blog posts about Loose Parts! It’s a must-read for loose parts lovers!