A term used by architect Simon Nicolson in 1972 when presenting the idea that “children’s creative empowerment comes from the presence of open ended materials that can be constructed, manipulated, and transformed through the process of self-directed play.”
Loose parts can be combined or adopted multiple ways. They encourage creativity and imagination, engage a learning process unfixed on specific results. This helps to develop skills and confidence while stimulating intrinsic motivation.
When children are able to choose the materials they will work with and how they will appropriate them, they develop a hypothesis around their play and test their ideas with self assessments yielding a process of discovery based learning.