Ten Picture Books Related to Inspire Loose Parts Play and Creativity in Children


Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld This clever story of friendship quickly captured the hearts of my preschoolers.  Written in rhyme.


Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert This story illustrates the beauty and potential of leaves as the wind blows them into different configurations.  It will spark your child’s imagination.


Look What I Did With A Leaf by Morteza E. Sohi Similar to Leaf Man but with wonderful instructions for pressing and drying leaves.  This book really values the beauty of nature and the artistic possibilities of creating new artwork with leaves found in the fall.



Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Dave Roberts Rosie feels shy about showing people her creations because they might fail or be laughed at.  Her aunt shows her that failures can be a good thing. Cleverly rhymed and beautifully illustrated.  Full of detailed illustrations.


The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires This book explores the way it feels to have an idea and try to make that idea become a reality.  The trial and error and the frustration are all part of the process.  When frustration takes over, not much creativity happens.  It is only when she gets past her anger that she can have success with her project.  This story is very much like the creative process.  Lots and lots of trial and error, doing and re-doing before completing an end product that is… the most magnificent thing!



Fraiday Zoo by Thyra Heder Little T is afraid to go to the zoo so the whole family helps explore what might be causing the fear.  Illustrations provide great inspiration for loose parts creations.



When I Build With Blocks by Niki Alling A child shows his love of block building with all the possibilities of creating things and pretend play.


Hannah’s Collections by Marthe Jocelyn Hannah values her collections but which one will she take to school?  She loves them all so this is a difficult choice.  In the end, Hannah finds a satisfying solution.


The Button Box by Margarette S. Reed Shiny buttons, big buttons, sparkly buttons and small buttons are celebrated in this book.  Harkens back to a simpler time.


Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker by Cynthia Mackey, illustrated by Paula Nasmith Katie uses her collection of loose parts to help her realize her pancake dream.  With a little magic and some help from a friend, she finally finds a way to make lots and lots of pancakes. A great read-aloud story.