When a stick is in the hands of a child, the possibilities of this open ended material are endless. In the eyes of a child, that precious stick could be:
– Fishing Rod
– A Flag
– Spiders Web
– Paint Brush or Pencil
– Tree Person
– Den or Hide-out
What are Open Ended Materials?
Another common term for open ended materials is ‘Loose Parts.’ These materials are non descript, with no instructions and no ‘right or wrong’ way to be played with. They can be used solo or in conjunction with other materials.
In nature, these could be sticks, leaves, pinecones, rocks, dirt, sand, water or grass. Manufactured materials could be string, tyres, rope, pallet, crates, tubes or boxes.
Benefits of Open Ended Materials?
– Open ended materials provide the opportunity for endless play. It allows a child to:
– Create without limitations of an end product
– Express themselves
– Problem Solve
– Stretch their cognitive skills
– Challenge themselves
– Take risks
Children of all ages can move, carry, create with open ended materials. They can play solo or collaborate with other children but essentially they become active participants in their own learning. Through exploring open ended materials a child can become an architect, designer, builder, inventor or artist.
How can you incorporate into your child’s play?
Open ended materials can be collected on nature walks or you can re-purpose recycled goods from around the home (cardboard rolls, string or shoe box). Our favourite place to collect manufactured materials is the Reverse Garbage Co-op in Marrickville. They can be big, small, you can use them on their own or inconjuction with other toys. The materials can be displayed on sorting trays or simply in crate in the garden for your child to explore – as long they are accessible they will create.
The possibilities are endless