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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Thank you. Enjoying checking out your site!
Thank you Brigitte! So happy you like it.
I have tried loose parts with my 18m child at home. There are parts that provide endless exploration and others that show very low interest. I would like to reflect more on what kinds of loose parts to have accessible and how to arrange them. Thank you for sharing the pictures.
Thank you for your help with infants and toddlers loose parts. Most sites give info for kindergarten and older. This is information I can use right away in my classroom.
Thank you for your kind words Lin. We are very happy we can help you!
As always great information we have loose parts in our school but this helps me to define what to set up for s daily activity.
I am having trouble downloading loose parts ideas for infants and toddlers
Sorry to hear that! Could you please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you further. Thank you!
Love the loose part ideas!
Thank you so much for the creative and simple ideas which I can introduce on a daily basis- so good! And- encouraging for a constant tired mother who sometimes simply does not know what to do more to entertain and…teach the baby in the right way! I am grateful to learn that we can find so many wonderful and interesting objects and things – just around us- to create a diversified, colorful and thought-provoking world for our babies. It seems to be so obvious but— well, we know how it looks every day 🙂 Sometimes you spend to much money for toys which are ….boring and simply artificial. They do not reflect the real world with all its textures, smells and shapes. So- thanks again for the ideas and tips. It’ll be sooo much fun! 🙂
Thank you so much! This ebook was such a great introduction to loose parts. It is well written to support parents and educators alike, on ways to introduce this type of play experience. I will be sharing this resource with others.
I introduced loose parts to my infant/young toddler class LAST WEEK. I have found my kids LOVE it! I introduced 2 tubs of odd and ends from a junk drawer at home. Stackable lids, powerade lids and large juice lids were some of their favorite things I introduced. Large curlers and some random wooden blocks were second. they played with them all day and rarely went to the manufactured toys.
Hey I tried downloading the free ebook: Loose Parts: A Start Up Guide
However when I received the email and clicked the link it says access denied, anyway you could help please? also I love the loos parts idea look forward to reading more about it on your blog 🙂
nice blog. i learn a lot from it, especially the loose part. thank you.
Nice job, thanks
Absolutely love these ideas!
Thank you very much. I got some ideas from that poster.
I am delighted to find loose part ideas for Infants and Toddlers. As someone mentioned above, most blog ideas are for Preschoolers. I understand, they can do cool stuff, but so can babies and Toddlers!
Great ideas to introduce.
This is a really helpful post to understand more of what loose parts can be and how simple it is to include them in the classroom! Also really helpful for learning how to introduce loose parts to children as I am just learning more about all of this.
Be sure to check out our free Loose Parts Start-Up Guide!