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Wonderful Loose Parts

By: MAIRE CORBETT

Tuesday 18 April 2017

In the run- up to Easter I was in a preschool setting. The educator had brought in some polystyrene eggs for the children to paint for Easter. She had them on a counter top ready to introduce them when the time was right. One little boy saw them an immediately appropriated them! You see, he had brought in his little crocodile that day, and the crocodile was about to lay some eggs.

He provided a safe place for the crocodile to hatch her eggs, and she kept the eggs warm with her tail. Crocodiles do that, we were all told. He knows a lot about crocodiles and now the other children do too.


Some children did paint the eggs that day, while more wanted to use the eggs to make faces on them.
 


And then some children noticed how they rolled around and wondered which would go faster. The educator suggested they blow them (knowing that one of the children in the group had been recommended to blow things to strengthen his mouth muscles). So a finishing line was laid across the table and the races commenced.


But you know, there is nothing like cooking with eggs! Baked eggs, fried eggs, poached eggs, eggs in cakes…all were discussed. And the chosen recipe was baked eggs, popped in the oven for a short while and they are the perfect snack!

So, while all the children may not have gone home with Easter eggs, they went home with so much more! They heard about crocodiles, they raced eggs, they made people from the eggs, they discussed and shared ideas about cooking eggs…and a few had painted eggs. Open ended materials or loose parts provide so many play and learning opportunities for children!

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