Storage and organisation is something that a lot of parents find overwhelming when it comes to their play spaces! Our little learners collect all kinds of small bits and pieces which can very quickly add up and make your spaces hard to keep organised. Today I’d like to share some of my personal favourite storage solutions for all those little bits and pieces, specifically loose parts!
What are loose parts?
The Theory of Loose Parts was coined by an artist and architect, Simon Nicholson, who suggested that loose parts are materials which can be moved around, designed, redesigned and tinkered with freely.
They’re open-ended materials which children can manipulate creatively however they see fit! Some examples of loose parts include pebbles, twigs, shells, pom poms, buttons, blocks, counters, pieces of pipe, fabric square, artificial grass squares etc;
As parents begin to grow their collection of loose parts, they often wonder how they should store the loose parts. Should they have them stored in a way where their little learners can access them freely? Or should they be stored away and brought out for playtime. I’m going to share some of my tips now!
How do we store our loose parts?
Over the years, we’ve collected so many natural loose parts which we use for our small world play. Things like rocks, pebbles, shells, pieces of coral, twigs, pinecones and more. Many of these we’ve collected in nature while we’ve been on walks and even on holidays!
We use the Montgomery 8 Compartment Storage Boxes from Bunnings to sort and store most of these loose parts. It makes it so easy for us to be able to store everything so that when we want to set up a small world, everything is organised beautifully and we can grab what we’re looking for fast! Growing Kind have a great range of natural loose parts like these that would be perfect for small world play! These storage boxes are kept up in our play room cupboards away from everyday use.
Some of our other natural loose parts are stored in our TROFAST unit which is where our daughter spends a lot of time playing with small worlds. She has a collection of loose parts available in the tubs which she uses to create her own small worlds or we set one up ready for her or Audrey to explore!
Below you’ll see some of the loose parts we keep in the TROFAST tubs. There’s a tub for natural fences, ladders and branch offcuts. Another tub has all the artificial plants, mossy rocks, trees and greenery. The next tub has all our peg dolls! The bottom three larger tubs house all of our building blocks – some of these are mirror blocks, coloured blocks, Q Toys Blocks and even natural building blocks which we got from Made with Altitude on Etsy! These tubs are used by both of our daughters most days!
We also have a few extra Montgomery Compartment Storage Boxes at the bottom of our play room cupboard which store some of our other loose parts like story stones, stamps, GRAPAT rings and coins and some of our smaller collections. We just rotate these out to the play room as needed!
In terms of our Art and Craft storage, we grabbed a bunch of Food Storage Containers from Kmart which we’ve used for all our craft loose parts like pom poms, buttons, feathers, small shells, googly eyes etc. We keep these up high in the cupboard as well and just bring them down for supervised creation. This is mostly so that Lilly doesn’t go through our entire stash in a day!
Lilly also has an art nook in the dining room (you can read about it here). One of the trays here also houses a bunch of random crafty loose parts which Lilly has access to all the time. We just replenish it every now and then and encourage her to plan her craft so that she’s not wasteful.
These are just a few of the ways we store and organise our loose parts for play. There are so many ways to organise your loose parts but I hope this has given you some ideas! If you’re looking for some more support in getting your play spaces organised, please do download my free Toy Rotation eBook by filling in the form below!