Let's Talk About Toys
When we think of toys for our kids, we often think of traditional toys.
Traditional toys purchased at a store like Target or from an online store like Amazon are frequently created for a single purpose. Think of a horn than makes noise when you push the buttons.
The purpose of toys that are marketed to us (or to our children) is to entertain. Sometimes they are billed as "educational" but still typically have flashy lights or make sounds, which is essentially for entertainment.
And it only takes a quick walk down the toy aisle at Target to know that the majority of toys on the market are made of plastic.
Loose Part Play Toys
Toys that are loose parts are objects that are open ended.
They don't have a single purpose but can be repurposed over and over for many things. Think of a colander. It can be used to carry objects, worn as a hat, used as a base for a building structure, or used in water play.
Toys that are loose parts help children solve problems.
A marketer or a child development expert has not figured it all out ahead of time. Nothing is pre-scripted. As children play with loose parts, they encounter problems (like a block tower falling down when placed on a wobbly base) and keep play until they find a solution.
Toys that are loose parts are often found in nature or made of natural materials.
Things from nature that could serve as toys are pinecones, sticks, flowers, and water. Other materials made from natural materials are metal mason jar rings, felt balls, woven baskets, and metal spoons.
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