Children, Outdoor Play, and Loose Parts

  • Caileigh Flannigan
  • Beverlie Dietze
Keywords: outdoor play, loose parts, early childhood development, unstructured play, natural environments, play development


In an effort to understand how loose parts in early learning environments benefit children’s play and development, through observations of preschool children in a rural outdoor natural environment, this study examined behaviours that children exhibited as they used loose parts. Children exhibited a range of positive social behaviours, complex verbal and nonverbal behaviours, and various types of risk taking in their play. The findings suggest that children do not explicitly exhibit stereotypical gender or age-exclusion behaviours while using the loose parts. The results would suggest that increasing children’s opportunities to use loose parts in an early years outdoor environment will support their various aspects of development in positive ways.


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How to Cite
Flannigan, C., & Dietze, B. (2018). Children, Outdoor Play, and Loose Parts. Journal of Childhood Studies, 42(4), 53-60.