Loose parts and reuse a cost effective and sustainable option in child care centers.

Nature is filled with some of the best “toys” that can be offeredto children and as adults we also throw away a lot of manmade things that can enrich in and outdoor play. Things we believe is rubbish are the best play material children can get.

Loose parts are any collection of natural or manmade objects that can be used into children’s play. The loose parts are supporting invention, divergent thinking, problem solving, creativity and phantasy. They are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials.

Loose parts is an open ended resource, which means that it has multiple uses and limitless possibilities, there are no rules to follow, no expectations, no specific problems to solve and no pressure to produce a finished product. Children can create a purpose for open ended material and use it as they wish. Open ended materials stimulate and empower children’s creativity, imagination and fantasy and they can be used in play in many ways. Researches have also showed that open ended material is the most educational material for young children’s learning and development. To use loose parts, together with open ended bought play material both indoor and outdoor will enrich children’s play and craft/art in childcare centers.

The seven types of loose parts are:-Nature Based -Wood Reuse -Plastic –Metal Ceramic/Glass -Fabric/Ribbon –Packaging.

The theory of “loose parts” was first proposed by architect Simon Nicholson in the 1970’s and has influenced child-play experts and the people who design play spaces for children in a big way.

The stick may be the world’s oldest toy Children find sticks an endless source of make-believe fun. Sticks can turn into swords, magic wands, majorette batons, fishing poles, and light sabers. When children pretend with sticks, they cultivate their creativity and develop their imaginations. They explore as they search outdoors for just the right one. Children build with sticks, bat balls with them, and walk with them. They are the original building blocks for creative play. The stick was inducted to the National Toy Hall of Fame 2008

Never underestimate the power of a stick.

To promote the use the ecofriendly material that nature offers and to reuse man made material instead of throwing it into the garbage bin is both a cost efficient and sustainable option.

Languge is the Key!

To read aloud to children I early years is an investment in children’s  future!

A child’s language develops in interaction with others. Therefore it is important that parents and close relatives stimulate the child’s language development by talking, narrating, reading and singing.

It is important to read to children already from birth. The time before children can talk themselves, is the most important time for language development. Thanks to being read to early in life, children get to hear more words, varying texts and experience dialogue inspired by books. Research shows that the age of the child when you start to read to him or her is of great importance for the child’s later language skills. During the children’s two first years of life, the brain, and especially the language centre, is growing a lot. This means that the child is more receptive to developing its language. 

Reading often – having a fixed routine for reading – is also important. To regularly speak with and read to babies from birth, already at 12-months old children will understand more words than children who are not read to. At 2-years-of-age, children will have a larger and more nuanced vocabulary than those children who are not read to. Research shows that the more words the babies hears, the more words they will use in the future. Children, who have been read to a lot already from birth, have heard many million more words when they are four years old, compared to children who did not have the same experience. Studies show that it is difficult to close this gap later in life. This means that during the first three years of the children’s lives, reading aloud to them can give the children the best foundation for further learning.

Sessions of reading aloud can create an interest in books and reading for pleasure.

It should be a right for all children to listen to reading aloud, as this can help children exercise their vocabulary, comprehension, empathy and fantasy. When a text is being read aloud, children can meet many words that they never have the chance to meet in everyday conversation. This important for their future language development.

Excerpts from Playtime Seychelles publication “The Importance of the Mother Tongue for Children’s Education and Intellectual Development and the Importance of reading aloud to children for their language development”

Why children need to be reconnected with nature!

Children that have many opportunities to play and discover nature will get knowledge about all that are living and growing, they will understand our living conditions better. Nowhere is so much to discover, to play with, as in nature and nowhere can children get so much knowledge about their own living conditions, as they can in small piece of wild nature. Experiences in nature give a feeling of responsibility to nature and animals, all that is living. No environment is so full of play material, as the nature. Nature gives children a maximum of space to run, jump climb, role, spin to a minimum of prohibitions and restrictions. In nature children’s big needs of movement, knowledge, interaction and thrill are fulfilled. Throughout history nature play has happened automatically during childhood, but today that kind of play, that has been a cherished part of childhood for so many generations is endangered.

Many more people live in cities and suburbs today, where access to wild spaces appropriate for children’s play often is very limited. More and more children today have less and less contact with the natural world and it that has an enormous impact on their health and development.

Does the loss of childhood nature play really matter? During the early childhood years children need opportunities to get out and explore nature without predetermined activities or objectives. Researches show that natural environments and outdoor play are beneficial to children in many ways. Playing outdoors is important for developing capacities for creativity, symbolic play, problem solving and intellectual development.

Outdoor and natural play increases children’s

  • Gross motor skills
  • Eye and hand coordination
  • Coordination
  • Problem solving
  • Balance
  • Concentration
  • Reduce stress
  • Prevents obesity

The importance of physical activities from early age is extremely relevant if we think about the growth of children’s obesity worldwide. Physical activities in childhood also prevent heart disease, diabetes and other health issues later in life.

The Benefits of outdoor and natural play give children skills that will be needed  in the future.

  • Cognitive development
  • Creativity
  • Fantasy
  • Imagination
  • Social development
  • Emotional development
  • Collaboration

Time spent outdoors increase physical activity, healthy development and overall wellbeing.

The world’s environmental problems are increasing and it is important to raise citizens who have positive connection to nature and are willing to take action to protect itFrequent, unstructured childhood play in natures has shown to be the best influence to develop life-long conservation values. Childhood play in nature lays the foundation for an interest in taking care of the environment later in life.#

Nature is also the ultimate resource for eco-friendly craft and art materials for children.

Nature is filled with some of the best “toys” that can be offered. Natural materials with open-ended possibilities stimulate and empower children’s creativity, imagination and fantasy and they can be used in play in many ways. Nature based loose parts can range from simple natural materials. Pieces of bark, small stones, seeds, pine cones, twigs, fallen leaves, flowers, branches, pebbles and so on.

The theory of loose parts

The theory of “loose parts” first proposed by architect Simon Nicholson in the 1970’s has begun to influence child-play experts and the people who design play spaces for children in a big way. Nicholson believed that it is the ‘loose parts’ in our environment that will empower our creativity. In a play, loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials.

If we want future generations to carry on the work of conservation, willing to care and protect the environment, then nature and outdoor play must be restored.

Are Trampolines Safe?

Trampolines are great fun for children, but they often get injured on them, by wrong landings or falls, that can cause serious, permanent injuries.

Common injuries include:

  • Broken bones (Sometimes surgery is needed.)
  • Concussions and other head injuries
  • Sprains/strains
  • Bruises, scrapes, and cuts
  • The most serious injuries are head injuries from falls or damage to the spinal cord in the neck (which can lead to permanent paralysis or death.

Why children under five years old, not shall bounce on trampolines.

Children under five are not sufficiently physically developed to control their bouncing, they weigh less and also have less co-ordination to help them control landings and the fact that their bones not are strong enough to handle the impact of repetitive jumping and jumping movements, put them in a higher risk of fractures. Another risk factor is that they can bounce much higher on a trampoline due to their lightweight, that the bounce canbecome so high, that they propel over the net.

Safe trampoline use starts with adult supervision and one child on the trampoline at a time!

Safety rules

  • Children age five and under should not be permitted on a trampoline.
  • Always use safety pads, covering the frame and springs.
  • Always use a safety net enclosure.
  • Make sure that only one child, uses the trampoline at a time.
  • Jump in the center of the mat.
  • Jump with bare feet (no shoes).
  • Stand back, when someone is jumping (no sitting on the padding!)
  • Never crawl under the trampoline when someone is jumping.
  • Don’t bounce off the trampoline net.
  • Only jump when the trampoline is dry.
  • Never allow children to bounce off the trampoline. Encourage them to stop bouncing, walk to the edge, sit and slide off.
  • Keep toddlers away while the trampoline is in use.

Excerpts from Playtime Seychelles Safety Corner

Playtime Seychelles on-line learning

Playtime Seychelles have started an on-line learning site on Eliademy where we will give on-line courses for free,

Our first course is about the Convention on the Right of the Child “Introduction to UNCRC”,

Overview of the course

Introduction UNCRC

Introduction to UNCRC 

If you work as childminder, in a day care, in a crèche or a preschool, is a parent or just interested in the subject, join this free online course about Children’s rights. It is designed to provide an introduction to the UNCRC. The course is composed, as a short, self-paced e-learning course to use on your own or by groups or working teams. This e-learning course will help you to learn about children and young people’s rights.


The course is built up in five short lessons, one quiz and four of the lessons contains assignments. Free material are included in the course as PDFs. Free download. You can see a presentation of the material in the brochure below.



When students have completed the course, we will be very happy to reward them with a course completion certificate.

About the instructor

Gunilla Holmberg is the founder of Playtime Seychelles. She is a former preschool teacher and an international vocational teacher that have been teaching and training becoming staff for daycare, creche and preschool.

If you are interested to enroll in this course click on link and sign up!


Welcome to Playtime Seychelles on-line learning!

Bullying – versus Dignity, Equality and Respect.

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior mostly among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated over time:  Children who bully use their power, such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, to control or harm others.                                                  Definition by stopbullying.gov

Bullying mostly occurs in schools, school yards and playgrounds.

Bullying is a behavior that includes a whole range of actions that cause physical or emotional pain, from spreading rumors, to intentional exclusion, to physical abuse.

  • Verbal bullying is to say or write mean things                                                             Verbal bullying includes:
  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm
  • Social bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships Social bullying includes:
  • Leaving someone out on purpose
  • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions              Physical bullying includes:
  • Hitting/kicking/pinching
  • Spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things
  • Making mean or rude hand gestures

Many children don’t tell their parents or their teachers that they are bullied, out of fear of shame or retribution. Children may also fear that, they won’t be taken serious if they tell, they are being bullied. It’s important that parents, teachers, and other adults constantly look for bullying behaviors.

  • Some warning signs that your child is being bullied
  • unexplained cuts or bruises
  • damaged or missing clothing, books, school supplies, or other belongings
  • loss of appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • emotionally reticent
  • sudden poor performance or loss of interest in school work
  • no longer wanting to be with friends
  • asking to stay home sick because of frequent complaints of headaches, stomachaches
  • social anxiety or low self-esteem
  • feeling moody or depressed 

It’s important that parents, teachers, and other adults constantly look for bullying behaviors.

Bullying can affect everyone—those who are bullied, those who bullies.

  • Be bullied can destroy 
  • a child’s learning,
  • development and performance in school
  • self esteem
  • social life
  • emotional well-being
  • A bully that is not stopped can get 
    • an attitude that bullying and violence is positive
    • takes a more disrespectful approach towards others and sees the hurting behavior as fully accepted, even fun
    • learns to master social situations by bullying others
    • learns that bullying can be rewarding

No child is born evil.  Children’s morality is not fully developed, something that we adults should remember when we wonder how children can be so cruel to each other. Children are just children and it is the adult’s responsibility to compensate for the child’s natural immaturity and to set the limits and show the way by being good row models.

In schools where the staff doesn’t see, the students will set the standards.  Such a behavior from the staff can increase bullying in a school.  Teachers must ensure that a tolerant, respectful and friendly atmosphere  are spread  in  schools and they must set a good example themselves. This is not just a moral issue; it is a school’s duty.

Everyone working within education shall promote human rights and actively counter all forms of degrading treatment.

UNCRC is an international Human Rights agreement based on the three core principles of human rights Dignity, Equality and Respect. UNCRC sets a global rights agenda for every person under the age 18 years old.

 Article 19 UNCRC states that all children have the right to be safe from “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse”.

Duty bearers are those defined as having obligations under the CRC for respect, protection and fulfillment of children’s rights. Government and everybody that works or act on the behalf of the Government such as teachers, police, social workers, judges health care workers are the duty bearers and are responsible for realizing the rights of all children. That means that duty bearers must consider and apply the provision of the convention in all aspects of their work that defect children, respect, protect and fulfill all the obligations that they have signed up for. For example if there is a culture of bullying on a school the school have to take appropriate action so all children can feel safe and learn.

In Sweden schools have an Education Act which protects children from offensive treatment in schools. Schools have a zero tolerance approach to offensive treatment of children, which means that schools must always act when there is a suspicion of  that children are being subjected to offensive treatment. If a child has been subject to such a treatment, the school has a responsibility to intervene, investigate and create an action plan to prevent this kind of  treatment. If the school fails to take responsibility, the child can report the school to the Child and School Student Representative, who has the option of acting as a representative in court for children and students who have been subject to this kind of offensive treatment in the school.

All children have the right to feel Safe and Secure and be treated with Dignity, Equality and Respect.  


Safe Children Happy Parents!

Some weeks ago Playtime Seychelles got a donation of 50000 SCR for our project “Safe Children Happy Parents!”.

On Friday I ordered 1000 copies of the new version of our publication “Safe Children Happy Parents!” from the printer. The publication is in line with Playtime Seychelles goal to promote and advocate safe environments for small children. This publication is a part of a series of six publications about safe environments for small children.

In this blogpost I will share this safety publication with you.

Children explore their surroundings with great curiosity, unaware of all the risk that exist around them. For this reason, you as an adult need to keep a step ahead, in order to prevent accidents. The best thing you can do is always to keep an eye on them. Continue reading “Safe Children Happy Parents!”

Composting with children- a funny and educational activity!


Composting is a natural biological process of decomposition and recycling of organic material (such as leaves, grass, fruit and vegetable scraps and food waste) into dark brown crumbly soil smells like forest.

Composting teaches children how the environment works, nature’s way of recycling and the life cycle. To raise children’s awareness of the environment by introduce them to the basic principles of taking responsibility for the waste they generate through composting.

Composting helps children to understand the three environmental r’s recycle, reuse and reduce. Children learn the difference between biodegradable products and what ends up in a landfill.

Composting with children teaches them that organic wastes are potential resources that can be converted into soil rather than just something “gross” that we throw away. Children learn through direct experience that they can make a difference and that their actions can have a positive effect on the environment.

Composting with children is a hands-on science experience and also an introduction into the world of science especially biology, chemistry and physics.

Talk to children about what happens to the waste. Where do they think waste go? We put the waste in a bin. Wheredoes the waste go after the bin is emptied? What happens then? Waste that we throw away is taken to a “big rubbish dump” which is calledlandfill. What will happen to the waste then? Some waste willdecompose and disappear. This is biodegradable waste. Other rubbish doesn’t decompose which means it stays at a landfill forever. This is non-biodegradable waste.

Continue reading “Composting with children- a funny and educational activity!”

Let’s plant!

Gardening is fun for children and at the same time, they gain important knowledge and skills. They learn about the different plants and what a plant needs to grow. They also learn about different cycles, seasons weather, flowers, fruits and vegetables, insects, birds, wildlife, mini beasts, and about science and scientific concepts. Gardening is the ultimate hands-on botany lesson!


For urban children, gardening and planting can offer a connection to nature, caring for a plant and nurturing it, develops a positive relationship with nature.

For some children, is this maybe their first experience to care for a living thing. To care for a plant teaches children responsibility and also respect for all living things. Their social skills will be developed, by working with other children and adults; children learn important life skills, such as cooperating and sharing ideas.

To plant vegetables with children can be a great way to introduce young children to where food comes from and also encourages children to eat  fruits and vegetables which lead to a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

Gardening helps to develop children’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination and also promotes their gross motor skills by activities like digging, raking, shoveling, watering and pushing a wheelbarrow etc.

When gardening children experience things firsthand and participate in an  active learning. Hands-on activities are important for children’s learning and children learn best by doing, not by watching.

A garden is like a science lab, with a myriad of topics and scientific concepts to discover. What does the plant need to grow? Why do the plants need sun? How does the plants “drink”water? Do the plants need food? Does the plants breathe?  The life cycle of plants, soil composition, photosynthesis and more!

Photosynthesis an interaction between man and nature!

All that is living needs energy. Energy is food. Plants need food and they make their own food in their leaves by a chemical process called the Photosynthesis.


Chef Chlorophyll

For small children we can explain the Photosynthesis by telling a little story about the Chef Chlorophyll. Every leaf has small kitchen and in the kitchen works Chef Chlorophyll and he cooks food for the plants. The dish he cocks is sugar (glucose). He mixes water, water he gets from the roots with air (carbon dioxide) that he has stored in his kitchen and cocks it on his stove (the sun). The smoke from the cooking goes out from the leaf, towards a chimney (stomata) into the air. The smoke from the chimney (oxygen) is the air people and animals breathe. When the autumn comes chef Chef Chlorophyll close down his kitchen and move down to the roots with all other chefs. The chefs are resting and waiting in the roots for the spring to come. The leaf kitchens are closed during the winter, but when spring comes the chefs will reopen them again.

To start a veggie and flower gardening project with children.

To visit the local vegetable and flower market is a good way to start the project. Stroll around among the market stands and ask the children if they know the names of some of the flowers and vegetables they see in the marketplace, which vegetables they have eaten etc.

To empower the children, involve them in the planning of the garden and let them have a say about which plants and vegetables to chose.

If you do not have enough space for a garden, you can grow flowers and vegetables in containers.

Almost any vegetable that can be grown in a garden will work well as a container-grown plant.




You can mix new and recycled containers to plant in.

Some plants are toxic for children so they should be avoided in a child-friendly garden, make sure that plants and seeds used with children not are poisonous or coated with a pesticide.

Try to find real garden tools that are in a child friendly size.

By planting, nursing,  harvesting and eating the vegetables they have grown,  children learn about where food comes from and develop healthy eating habits.

Planting, growing and caring for plants teaches children everything from basic skills to bigger concepts of life.

Download Playtime Seychelles storybook as PDF     

Let’s plant!   

Download some funny experiments to do with children!

plant in a CD case                  

How plants absorbs water  

How plants transport water from the root1    

garden markers  

Weave a nature loom   

Earth in a jar!                

Knowledge about nature starts in nature!

When we think about education, learning and knowledge we often think about an actual classroom with four walls but there are many other learning environments that have no walls and that offers endless opportunities for children to learn. The nature with its fantastic library of knowledge is a developmentally appropriate classroom for children to learn about nature.

Children need a broad variety of learning experiences and opportunities to grow in areas such as gross and fine motor development, social-emotional development, language development, and creative expression and nature offers all this opportunities. Nature also promotes problem-solving skills scientific and mathematical exploration, language and pre-literacy skills.

In nature children can discover how nature works, learn the correct names for animals and plants and learn to question and investigate.The best way for small children to learn is when they can see objects touch them, taste them, hear them and smell them.Let children be active learners, children benefit from active hands-on discovery learning opportunities.

Experiences in nature are more important than facts and book learning about nature to create childhood connections with the natural world.”  David Sobel

To give children environmental education for sustainability is more important than ever before and it needs to start at any early age with hands-on experience in nature. Place-based outdoor learning promotes a relationship with the natural environment and provides an environmental knowledge and ecological understanding of the world. The future needs ecological literate adults who are able to recognize common plants and animals and interpret what they see in nature.

Respect, protect, and preserve the natural world

Children must be educated not to leave rubbish behind and throwing things away in the environment. We as adults must help children to understand the damage litter can do to wildlife and the environment.

Respect for all living

Everything goes around in nature.

Nature has its own clean-up crew. You can introduce the children to nature’s recyclers and encourage them to be like nature and recycle, too! The life cycle of a tree provides children with a good example of recycling in nature. Leaves that fall down from the tree, make a leaf litter on the forest ground. Leaf litters are habitat for a big variety of nature’s recyclers.

Nature’s recyclers are decomposers; they decompose or break down organic litter into nutrient components that will return to the soil.  Nature’s recyclers come in many forms snails, slugs beetles, sow bugs, earthworms, millipedes, fungi, mushrooms, lichens and microbes. Observe together with the children nature’s recyclers in their natural setting during the warmer months of the year. Don’t disturb their homes any more than is absolutely necessary.

How do you grow an environmentalist?

If we want children to care about, preserve and love the natural world, shall we teach them about the destruction of the rainforest, global warming and about endangered species dying off?No says Louise Chawla Researcher and Professor in Environmental Design of course it is important for adults and even teenagers to become aware of such problems and issues but many environmental problems are just too abstract and complex for young children who still believe in the Tooth Fairy.”

Step 1: Back off the bad news.

Step 2: Let children explore nature. Let children have fun outdoors. Lie in the grass, look under a rock, plant a seed, wade in a creek, get a birdfeeder, go fishing, climb trees, watch butterflies.

Step. 3: Teach them to practice environmental ‘good manners” as a daily habit without telling them that if they don’t “the ozone hole will quadruple.” If children ask why, “say something like: We want to be smart about how we use the earth’s resources.    Louise Chawla

We teach about climate change, global warming, extinction of spices and ways to “save the planet” without thinking  about the effects these lessons can have on children. David Sobol calls the fear that this kind of teaching breeds “ecophobia”.

Ecophobic” (i.e., fearful of environmental problems)

David Sobel states that it is only when children get to age 12 that they are really ready for social action, for “changing the world”.

David Sobel is an education writer who has helped in developing the philosophy of place-based education. He has written extensively on the topic in books and numerous articles.

He has published five books including Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities and Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education


 Click on the link and read his article in Yes Magazine “Beyond Ecophobia”




Click on the link and read chapter Chapter 11 “Young children, environmental education and the future” by Julie Davis  

Young children, environmental education and the future by Julie Davis 

Click on the link and download two plays that you can do in nature with children Kim’s Play and Scavenger hunt      

kim’s play and scavanger hunt 2

                    Get Outside — and Learn Something New!