Loose Parts Theory Defined

Loose Parts Theory Defined: An Elixir for the Development of Creativity

What is Loose Parts Theory? It was first proposed back in the 1970’s by architect Simon Nicholson, who believed that the loose parts in our environment empower our creativity. And now, early learning experts have adapted the theory as it relates to children’s play.

How does this theory work?  We provide items that can be moved, manipulated, combined  and put together in many different ways.  There are no specific directions on how this is to be done.  Children can explore the items in whatever way they choose.  The materials can be natural or synthetic and are stored in a way that is accessible to children without them having to ask an adult.

What are some examples of Loose Parts?

Why does Loose Parts Theory have value? I think as an early childhood educator, one of the reasons I value Loose Parts Theory is because I see firsthand how it supports creative play.  And I value creativity because it promotes self-confidence and self-reliance, it helps with divergent thinking and problem-solving skills, and it supports scientific exploration and discovery.  I am constantly surprised by the ways in which children use the items when they are free to come up with ideas.  Quite often, children will do something I would not have thought about myself. Add to that, the fact that very little money is needed to get these items, we encourage children by example to reuse items for many purposes and we spend less money on commercial toys that don’t leave much to the imagination.  I also believe that loose parts give the opportunity for children to become more engaged in play and as a result spend a longer time working/playing resulting in increased attention spans.

Are you interested in picture books that promote Loose Parts Theory?  I am working on a book list for you that will be coming up in the days ahead!

Did you enjoy reading this post?  I am not paid for any my blog writing; this is all done during my free time. If you’d like to show your appreciation for what you’re reading here on simply.cindy then please like my Facebook page.  Thank you.


Outdoor Program Snapshot

Today’s daily prompt is Symbiosis.  The interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.

It reminded me of our nature program as we witness that symbiosis in nature each time we go outdoors.  The children may not know the word, but they experience it when they see a fungus growing on a log.


What does our outdoor program look like? We have just two hours once a week. Here’s a snapshot of our morning.

gather at our meeting place

sing our welcome song with ideas about what we plan to do while outside

-take a short walk to our play place

Sit Spots: we form a circle, take three giant steps back and sit down.  We spend 2-5 silent minutes just breathing and appreciating the nature around us.  Children can pick up the things around them to examine more closely but there is not talking during this time.

Boundary Walk: we walk the boundary of our outdoor classroom to see where the invisible walls are today.

Free Play: children can explore the outdoor classroom and play in the outdoors as teachers and parents guide them by facilitating play and/or negotiating risks.

Snack is available throughout the free play time.  Children can come to the snack area when they feel hungry.

Exploring: We take a walk to further explore the forest/beach/trail

Story time: Often we tell stories orally, so there are no pictures but we do also read picture books as well.

Gratitude song: We sing about the things we did today and give thanks.


Starting up an outdoor nature program has been totally worthwhile.  I’m really glad I did this and hope to keep the program going for years to come.

Available for Pre-Order!!!

I know I keep saying this but I’m just so excited!  Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker, my picture book is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The official release date is April 24th and you can pre-order now.  Yay!!!  I feel a bit like Katie today…


“Katie assembled and constructed; she glued and she taped; she stacked and she hammered, until finally her creation was done.”


Enter my blog giveaway and win an advance copy of the book plus an Amazon gift card.  Giveaway closes March 27.




Saturday Morning Pancake Feature

Hello and welcome to my Saturday morning pancake feature where I share a pancake recipe from an awesome blogger.  I’m sharing recipes each week in celebration of my picture book Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker which will be released on April 24.  And if you’ve given up pancakes for lent, I suggest you bookmark this recipe for future as it looks  super fun for kids! This one comes from The Baker’s Bible.  Enjoy!

Tomorrow is the best day of the year: Pancake day!! I wanted to think of something different but easy to make so I came up with the idea of the pancake kebab! To make it even easier I just used pre made pancake mix. They were so much fun to make and now I’m even […]

via Pancake Kebabs — The Baker’s Bible

Giveaway Time!

Just a couple of days left to enter!

Spring Break has arrived.  I have just passed over 500 followers and the release date for Katie Shaeffer is set for April 24th. Woohoo!  I’m giving away a copy of my picture book Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker ! Yay!  And to sweeten the pot I’m throwing in a Ten Dollar Amazon Gift Card.


Giveaway Terms and Conditions:

Must be a resident of Canada or USA; Must be 18 or over
One entry per household; Family members excluded.

Giveaway open from March 20 through March 27, 2017.

The winner will be selected by random draw and will be informed via email within 7 days. The winner must respond via email within 7 days to claim their prize. Email addresses are collected only for the purpose of notifying the winner.

How to enter:

  1. This is a Rafflecopter giveaway so you must click here to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway
  2. Leave a comment on my blog that fills in the blank: I wish I could find a picture book about _____________________________.
  3. Tweet about the giveaway on Twitter.

Comments are moderated so your comment may not show up right away.  Thanks for entering and good luck!

Gallery of Green

It IS Easy Being Green!

This was a fun photo challenge for me.  Living on Vancouver Island is a little like living in Ireland since we do have green everywhere.  Not every photo in my green collection was taken on Vancouver Island, though. Can you tell?

I’m celebrating Spring Break with a blog giveaway! You have until March 27 to enter.  Thanks for visiting simply.cindy  and have a great day.

Teachers Are Not Perfect

As adults, we know that we are not perfect.  Mistakes are part of the human condition.  Children, however are frequently surprised to learn that their teachers can make mistakes. Here’s the story of one of my recent mistakes.

On a recent field trip which involved a visit to the aquarium and the beach, my stress level was high. There were several things that added to my stress and I will not list them off here or make excuses but just know that as a human teacher, I was having one of those days.

The beach portion of the trip was at the end of the day.  Children had about 20 minutes to play at the beach, maybe a little more, and then they were going home.  One child decided to throw rocks into the water.  Well, as you may have witnessed, the aim of a three year old is not yet perfected so throwing rocks into the water was not the safest thing I could imagine us doing and I told the child to find another idea for the rocks.  I tried to show how rocks could be put into rows or designs but explained that they were too hard and not safe to throw with so many friends around.


Sadly, several children wanted to throw rocks into the water and I spent the next 20 minutes or so redirecting children from throwing rocks into the water.  They were determined though and kept trying to come back to the activity. Agh!  Sooooo frustrating!

I went home, reflected on the beach time and felt really unhappy with the way things went.  And then it dawned on me.  I just needed to practice acceptance.  These children wanted to practice throwing rocks into the ocean.  As their teacher, I needed to find a safe way for them to do this activity.

I had another chance to get it right on our next beach outing.  I had thought ahead and knew what I would do.  When a child wanted to throw rocks into the ocean, I helped them form a line and each child could get a turn to throw one rock into the water once they got to the front of the line.  And it worked!  Add to that, they now had the opportunity to practice patience as they waited for a turn to do the activity. Yay!  A win-win situation.

It makes me wonder, how often if my life, when stress takes over do I fail to see the solutions?  And it reminds me to take a few deep breaths before tackling a problem.

Managing my own stress has to remain a high priority.  And the great part of the whole thing is, when I learn to manage my stress, I can also model that for the children I teach.

Thanks for visiting my blog!  If you’re interested in news about my picture book and future book projects, sign up for my newsletter near the top right of my blog.  Its Giveaway Time! so if you’d like to win a copy of Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker then you can enter until March 27.  Have a great day.