Loose parts in action

My new granddaughter Molly had her baptism, christening, water goddess welcoming ceremony a few weeks ago. Call it what you will, it is a very ancient ceremony. And very boring for the other children (aged 18 months to around 5) who would be there and at the party afterwards.
So a few weeks before we went to pound shops and the like to get some bits and pieces.  A pop-up tent. Foam poles. Glittery pom-poms. Cheapo no-logo building bricks. A couple of slinkys. Mini Jengo blocks. Other odds and sods like recycled dolls and toys were added to the mix. Total cost? Less than £30
We had no idea how it would work with around 12 children at one end of a hotel reception room. But of course when you put a mixture of portable and ambiguous things in a space and just add children, play is bound to be the result. In the excitement I forgot to bring my camera, and my stupidphone is rubbish at taking photographs, but here is an inkling of the play magic. Note the ‘drowned doll’ in the river of pom-poms.

The biggest hit of the day turned out to be the slinkys. At two for £1 they were hopeless at walking down stairs. But they became brilliant loose parts when the children pulled the ends as far apart as possible and one would suddenly let go – sproinnnnnng!! – from one end of the room to the other. And even around corners into the pop-up tent. Which led to the discovery of the huge camp underneath the food table with its floor-length cover. Whatever went on under there was hysterically funny according to what we could hear but not see.