Today's early childhood teachers know that open-ended play is most beneficial to young children because it fosters social interaction, cooperation, imaginative play, creativity, language development, abstract thinking, and problem solving. Kids create different uses for toys, invent storylines, interact socially, and develop rich vocabulary when playing with open ended toys.
Outdoors at Purple Moon, children engage in imaginative play with natural objects such as sticks, pinecones, acorns, leaves, tree cookies, grass and other natural items that can be collected and played with by children. These objects are known as “loose parts,” and are a medium for open-ended play. Open-ended play is play with many options on how toys/objects are used, as opposed to a single mode of play which has single desired outcome. An examples of a single mode of play would be shape sorters: there is only one thing to do with them; sort the shapes into the correct position.
At Purple Moon, our nature-based theme and generous amounts of outdoor play time contribute to an abundance of loose parts play. Earlier today, the children were able to pay outside for the first time this week due to freezing temperatures. I went outside to find the objects of their play, and found a small tub filled with grass and mud mixed to a paste, surrounded by sticks on one side, and rocks on the other. The children (ages 4-5), told me excitedly that in the tub was fairy food, while the rocks were the seats for the fairies, and the sticks were a wall to protect them while they ate. Such rich language, social interaction, and imaginative storylines, all from the same “toy": loose parts! Your child deserves long days of open-ended play. Contact us today to learn more about joining us at Purple Moon!