Loose Parts Play: 32 Invitations

Estimated read time 4 min read

Loose parts come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. They stimulate the imagination and develop fine motor skills in kids of all ages. Set up invitations to play and see the true beauty of childhood innocence come forth while kids explore their prompts. Indoors or out, wet or dry, invitations for loose parts play turn the mundane into interesting.

Fine Motor Skills and Early Learning

Fun ideas to promote fine motor skills and early learning with numbers, letters, and numbers.

Line tracing on a DIY chalkboard with loose parts.

Loose parts play for toddlers promotes fine motor development.

A lovely fine motor nuts and bolt sensory bin presents an opportunity for concentrated learning.

Collect pine cones on a nature walk and save them for a rubber band fine motor activity.

Practice verbal conversation skills with a fine motor activity in a color and match game.

A beautiful alphabet activity with popsicle sticks, so great for spring time!

Make your own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom play set – it looks irresistible!

Play Dough

Play dough is a classic ingredient for play for a reason! Check out these great ideas to incorporate loose parts into your invitations to play with dough.

This is a great invitation for loose parts, nothing fancy, just good-old-fashioned fun!

Fall season fun with farm parts and play dough.

Use your special rock collection for this fine motor play dough and rock activity.

Who doesn’t love the ocean? This ocean inspired play dough sure is inviting!

Sand and ocean, I can almost smell the sea… sand play dough with loose parts.

Pine cones and pom-poms make a great combination in this invitation to play.

Play dough people with loose parts is nice for early learning biology.

This stretchy night sky play dough might make a nice calming activity to prepare for bedtime.

Create and Explore

I love all of these ideas – this create and explore section is my favorite! Hope you enjoy also 🙂

Upcycle a organizer into a homemade tinker tray for kids!

Set up your art table to create fire hydrants, great for fire engine themed activities.

Kids love to explore the mud, have no fear, you can give this invitation to play and keep it contained.

Here is a creative place for all your recycled odds and ends – a building box with loose parts!

Blocks are great and now Exploring Reggio: Expanding Block Play is a way to make it better!

Small Worlds

These small worlds are so inviting, they look like they would come to life before young eyes and entertain for hours.

A small world zoo with every-day items is so lovely, I love the idea of using a whole table as a base.

A bricklaying invitation to play is a fine motor activity for kids who love construction.

Bring the ocean to you with a rocky shore small world.

A dinosaur small word can be made from scraps around your house, just think of all the possibilities!

Set up an invitation to play in a small frog world and introduce early learning about their life cycle.

Enjoy time in the sunshine with a spring time sensory table and excite the little scientist within.


This was a surprise category but I couldn’t ignore all these great ideas!

I love spending time outside and watching kids explore, bringing loose parts outdoors is a great opportunity.

An autumn invitation to play uses clever mirror placement to make loose part play even more fun.

A great fine motor activity with pom-poms and a mirror!

Some more inspiring homemade ideas for what to use with mirror play.

Make a mirror box for “bonus points”, kids will love practicing their shapes and pattern recognition.

Here is a fun fine motor idea for winter but best yet the concept is versatile for different themes.

My two favorite things are in this fine motor sensory mirror play – sensory items and mirrors!

Love these ideas? Pin to save for later!

Learn about the theory behind invitations to play and loose parts, where to find loose parts and how to use and store them.

  • How to Set Up Invitations to Play – Imagination Tree
  • Transform Your Play with Loose Parts – Racheous
  • Loose Parts for Learning – Learn with Play at Home
  • Theory and Practice of Loose Parts – Clare’s Little Tots
  • DIY Colored Glass Gems for Learning – Sugar Aunts
  • Loose Parts and Natural Materials – Bambini Travel
  • Handy Storage Ideas for Loose Parts – Let the Children Play

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