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;
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.