FREE Play Materials


 Getting something for free sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong! What if I were to tell you that some of the best resources for your child to play with were either already in your home or you could pick them up from outside? You might be starting to see where I'm going with this so let's dive in!

Christmas has just been and you may have noticed that your small person was more interested in the box and the wrapping than the present inside, it's a tale as old as time! However, there is good reason for this. The box and wrapping are totally open ended, you could play peek-a-boo, turn the box in to a car, make a doll's House. That box can be anything you want it to be, physically it is and always will be a box, but using some imagination it can be anything you want it to be and it can change too! When you think about it, if there were a toy for sale that could be anything your child wanted it to be and it was cheap as chips, you'd be pretty sold!

The box is a classic and easy example but what else can be used in a similar way? Here are a few examples:

1. Sticks- Does anyone elses child have an obsession with picking up sticks on walks? Our porch is full of them! (Kept away from our stick chewing dog!) Our kids use them to build pretend campfires, sword fighting, walking sticks, mixing mud pies, we even had a stick friend for a while. Hey Duggee knew all about the value of a stick, if you haven't heard it Google the stick song!

2. Kitchen Utensils- We often use these in our sessions. Sieves, colanders, whisks, spoons, spatulas, ramekins, silicone cupcake liners, cake tins, pans, wooden spoons, garlic press, funnels.. you get the jist! If your little one is ever having an off day, stick them in the bath with some kitten utensils, it's like magic! 

3. Guttering and Pipes- I know this is probably not something you have lying around but it's worth asking on Facebook groups and seeing if anyone has some, they will often give it away for free. Great to use outdoors for large construction and pouring. It has been a popular addition to our outdoor area and the children have used it with water, sand, cars, balls and even apples.

4. Plastic Bottle Tops- Bright, colourful and easy for small hands to grasp! They can be added to small world, used as coins, for building and rolling or for making models. Your child is sure to come up with their own unique play.

5. Pine Cones- They are a staple in our classes and we often use them in our messy play trays particularly in small world set ups. They are a good size for posting down tubes, putting in egg cartons, using in tinker trays or creating art. 

I have given just a few examples of easy to find open ended loose parts. It's great to use them to play together but also important to take a step back and observe to really see where your child's imagination goes.* Let me know what free play materials your child loves!


*Please use under careful supervision, some loose parts may present a choking hazard so may not be suitable for children under 3 years.


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