Toys with Loose Parts

What’s your take on toys with loose parts and pieces? Sets of blocks, duplos, legos, kids’ kitchenware, magnets, animal figurines etc. Do you like ’em or lump ’em?

I regularly vacillate between loving and despising this category of toy with every fiber of my being.

On this day, I loved all the loose parts. All the little pieces of various shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and purposes fired creativity in both my girls and me. Thanks to the proper alignment of the stars, fate, utter exhaustion from swim lessons plus ample nap time, or the tender mercy of the Lord, we spent the better part of two hours playing with every type of block to be found in our home. Henley and Becca didn’t fight, whine, or cry and I didn’t become bored, antsy, or cranky. That adds up to six wins all in two hours!

At last Henley can build the smooth and slick blocks with finesse to create various structures and buildings. Hallelujah we’ve reached this point after many tears and exclamations of despair upon the crumbling of yet another tower or house. Wooden blocks are tricky!

I found these beauties at Deseret Industries thrift store, have no idea what they’re called but we love them. They can be snapped together to create weird shapes and patterns. Their design actually makes it hard to create a basic shapes which I think is fun–it forces creative thinking and innovation.

My favorite building materials will always be duplos. We had a huge box of these growing up and I remember building huge structures with my brother and others on my own. Some were cool enough I kept them in my room for days and weeks so I could add on a little bit each day.

I’ve read–probably on a blog somewhere–that playing with toys with loose parts during childhood leads to working as engineers and inventors during adulthood.

If that’s the case, my daughters are receiving a world-class STEM education.

But, seriously, if I have to sort the wooden blocks from the duplos from the mega blocks from those weird-but-cool-connect-things one more time, I’ll settle for careers in less high-maintenance fields.

Loose parts are great for building, creating, and imagining. Loose parts are dreadful for cleaning, sorting, and navigating the living room with unshod feet.


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