I recently participated in a professional development for early childhood professionals and the focus was Loose Parts: open ended natural materials that children create with. A 2016 study from The International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education found that building an environment full of open ended natural materials cultivates problem solving, ingenuity and flexible thinking in children. Loose Parts require children to make connections, recalling “What does this look like to me?”. These materials allow children to make play their own.
How do we use Loose Parts in the theatre?
Three years ago, I was taking a walk around my neighborhood. I stumbled upon an oak tree that was dropping its acorns. I bent down to pick one up and the idea for the YOS class Creating Drama in the Woods took flight. My imagination went crazy, wondering about all the ways my students could create drama with these fabulous natural loose parts.
The week long outdoor camp was magical. It was open ended. We used all of our senses to create drama with feathers, rocks, grass, sticks, nuts, leaves, fire (safely!), water, and anything in the woods around us that inspired song and storytelling.
When I think about Loose Parts on a stage, indoors or outdoors, I see a wide open space. Strewn about are piles of fabrics, clothes, hats with different textures and colors. The environment is primed for children to take ownership of their creation. To problem solve. To encourage mental and emotional flexibility. To collaborate and develop social skills that will serve them for life. There are materials scattered messily, waiting for a storyteller to bring them to life. Loose Parts can be fantastically messy. Creating Drama is always brilliantly messy. It’s the perfect creative partnership. Simply put, Loose Parts cultivate creativity. The very mission of Youth on Stage.
I’m collecting Loose Parts for our upcoming Musical Theatre Pioneer Camp, starting June 19th. The tab above will give you all the information you need to register your child for this one-of-a-kind creative experience. We have 5 spots open.
Come help us put it all together!
I’ll be looking for you.