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Loose Parts Nature Play

Jun 24, 2022

Why Have Kits?

Grab and go

Organized materials

Find your stuff


Accessible for more people


How to use: storytime, grab one for a hike, follow children’s interests, family days, check out at your center, send home kits, children’s free choice, rotate


Types of Kits:

Book extensions: Not a Stick, Mama Built a Little Nest, An Egg is Quiet, A Nest is Noisy

Animal focus: Woodpecker’s Wham, squirrels, beaver, insects, bird nests, spiders

Building: wooden blocks, mini bricks, cardboard tools

Play: stick play, mud kitchen, music and movement, water play, dramatic play, fort play

Natural phenomena: wind, natural loose parts, sound, gardening, senses

Art: nature play dough, watercolors or painting, paper, small loose parts, chalk, ephemeral art

General outdoor tools: tweezers, magnifying glasses, binoculars, twine, buckets, etc.

Academic/curricular: measuring, stonework play (literacy), numeracy, map making, animal architects, faces/emotions, shapes


What to Include: books, pictures, tools, “sparks” or ideas for play, puppets, materials, interesting combinations, natural items


Type of Bags/Containers: clear plastic bags, muslin drawstring backpacks, backpacks, reusable grocery totes, IKEA bags, crates, baskets, dishpans, wagon


Labels: stencils, laminated tags/pictures, fabric labels, numbered system, have children decorate, wooden laser engraved labels


Storage: hooks on a wall at child height, cart, rod with s hooks, large tubs, cubbies, outdoor shed


Funding: grants, use what you have, donations, special fundraiser, collect nature, garage sales



  • Supplement with nature found outside—use your space and nature!
  • Keep an Inventory/Master List to find your materials
  • Consider a checkout system for families
  • Regularly purge and evaluate bags and materials
  • Allow children to choose what kits to take outside each day
  • Use a materials list for each bag to visually help keep everything together
  • Group connected items together
  • Involve children in creating kits customized for their play!


Book--Loose Parts Learning in K-3 Classrooms:

Loose Parts Play Facebook Page:

Loose Parts Play Facebook Group:
Inside Outside Michiana Facebook Page:
Loose Parts Nature Play Website: