* colorful gems and glass stones
* melting beads
* cut up straws
* wine corks
* colored pasta
* wooden blocks
* cut up pool noodle
* cut up egg carton
* cut up toilet paper rolls
* clothes pins
* little cars and doll house people
I laid out a little grid on the train table using painters tape and even made a small road. I fully expected the kids to get the people and make a little city or something and use all the parts as pieces to complete their little community. WRONG. That's the beauty of loose parts, the kids use their own imagination and they didn't do anything close to what I imagined. I first had them wait in their bedrooms while I laid it all out, then called them to come and play.
SK immediately asked "how do we play this?" I told her however she wanted. They first grabbed a couple pieces of whatever looked interesting (read the wine corks) and rolled them around on the table.
Then they spotted the cut pool noodles and immediately divided the set in half so that each of the older 2 had some. W started using these as building blocks and SK immediately realized that the corks fit perfectly into the hole of the pool noodle and filled hers with corks. They then decided to play a game and see if W stood on the table and dropped colored gems through the pool noodle hole, could SK catch them in a bowl beneath.
H basically just mixed things together and handled handfuls of random materials. H got sleepy after a while and as I rocked her the older 2 began mixing materials and creating their own little imaginative play.
I was pleased with how quiet and engaged they were. They were so excited to dive in and immediately had their own ideas of what they wanted to do. It was certainly nice to watch. We will certainly be incorporating this into our play more. I am currently hoarding the caps to milk jugs and bottles to use! (If you want to be my best friend save some for me too!) Happy playing. What random things do your kids like to play with?