Tue Apr 20 2021

The best loose parts you can use for lesson planning/activities

written by Vanessa Serrao

When it comes to planning activities you want to be creative with your approach. Loose parts have become a revolutionary concept when it comes to childcare. There are so many great lost parts that you can use. Loose parts are great for free play, arts and crafts, cognitive, as well as literacy. Let’s take a look at some innovative loose parts that you can incorporate in your classroom.


This wooden loose part is great for arts and crafts as well as developing fine motor play and skills. You can even use the clothespins to make it an object that is able to pick up items. All you need to do is glue two popsicle sticks on each side of the clothespin.

You can incorporate this tool in an activity. You can also use clothespins as a decorative piece for arts and crafts. The possibilities are endless when it comes to using clothespins. I use clothespins a lot when I am making DIY crafts, and they are great. I recently used them to hang some of my keychains as I made a keychain and magnet holder.


Buttons are a great loose part as you can use them for arts and crafts, and you can also incorporate them to develop a child’s cognitive skills. For example, if you have an activity that involves grouping and counting you can use the buttons for grouping and counting. If the activity asks the child to group a certain number of buttons then they can add as many buttons as it asks.

It is a good idea to have the buttons in a little bowl and have this activity set up on a table. As well, if you are using buttons for an arts and crafts activity you should also have the buttons in a little bowl, so it is organized. You can use the buttons to make wheels, make a face (or nose of a pig) and you can even get the children to paint the holes in the middle of the button for a fun painting activity. I always like to use different items for painting to be creative.

Wooden pieces

Wood is one of my favourite loose parts as it is great for pretend play, and arts and crafts. You can find wooden loose parts at the dollar store. They have so many kinds such as small wooden stumps, heart-shaped, circle shapes, and even hexagon shaped.

Similar to buttons you can use these for cognitive development and for arts and crafts and decorating items. But these are also great for pretend play and even incorporating them into sensory bins. You can use them for building, and with a sensory bin, you can do a farm sensory bin. You can get as creative as you want. These wooden loose parts are so handy and make play-based learning creative and engaging.


Yes, keychains can be a loose part. Keychains are great for free playtime and children can wear them around their wrists and engage in pretend play. I had a child in my preschool class pretend he was on a laptop using a book, and he had this box of keychains beside him, and he said he was ordering more keychains on Amazon.

It was a great moment to capture, and it was very funny to watch. Children also like seeing the different colours of the keychains and the different types. From this image, you can see that there is a fish keychain and some carabiners. I loved seeing how excited the children got when they received them and when they were playing with them. It opened up my mind to how this is a great loose part.

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