Adding Parts

Years ago I began trying to eliminate much of the plastic in the program.  I’ll admit that there are still plenty of plastic items both indoors and out but whenever possible I will choose items made from wood, metal, or cloth over those made from plastic.

Our playspace contains a lot of loose parts – items that don’t have a specific purpose and can be used in a variety of ways. Sure, some of the items really do have an intended purpose according to their manufacturer but once I toss them into the playspace there’s no limit to what they can become.

The conduit pipes for example as a building supply product have a specific purpose but in a children’s play area imagination takes over.  Yes, I know that they have metal conduit too but in this case I did choose plastic instead – easier for me to cut up – safer for the children to play with;


Notice the conduit in the top left corner of the storage shelf – it was just added this spring and has quickly become the children’s favorite.  It is more flexible than the other conduit and it has ridges which give it additional play value.  I didn’t tell the children that – they figured it out.

Of course at first they used it the same ways they used the original pipes;


Then they discovered that when you tapped on the ends of these pipes they made a noise;


And if you took two of the pipes and rubbed them together the resulting sound was fabulous;


We have some other new loose parts too.  Some old bowls I found taking up space in the back of my cupboard – now are used to hold miscellaneous small items in the yard;


We’ve had some pieces of pool noodles for years now – here they are being used with the conduit as drum sticks and boat oars;


This week I added some more pool noodles that I cut up into small pieces.  My husband says it looks like a rainbow exploded in the yard.  The children have been collecting them sorting them and tossing them about;

NP07They’ve recently started putting several of the small foam pieces onto the conduit and making  patterns – I haven’t yet had my camera handy when they’ve been doing this so I haven’t got a picture.

There are some new toys in the houskeeping area too.  These ones are not plastic – hooray – and I think they are the most adorable things.  I found them in the housewares department at Superstore.  I included the soup can in this picture for size comparison.


And just in case you think these toys have a specific purpose I’ll also mention that the babies think these are the greatest musical instruments.