Designing a Children’s Play Landscape—or The Theory of Loose Parts.
If you have a child, how you plan your garden could make the difference between an imaginative and nature loving child or a child with a restricted and even fearful view of the world.
In 1972 Simon Nicholson an architect, devised the Theory of Loose Parts. His belief was that kids love to interact with variables… meaning anything from materials and shapes to even gases and fluids.
Children claim these things enthusiastically and throw themselves into discovering, inventing and have fun.
The theory of loose parts is as follows:
In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity, and the possibility of discovery are directly proportional to the number and kind of variables in it. (Nicholson 1972)
Conversely, static playgrounds limit play and opportunities to experience what happens when say, you put this on that, or roll that over there, and so on. Simple sticks, stones, soil/sand and water can be made, stirred and served as lunch; or a home for a crawly bug, road for trucks etc.
Put simply, try and incorporate a loose parts playground into your landscape plans. See examples…