Busy Bees in The Hive Classroom: An exploration of loose parts

When you give children access to loose parts and extended periods of time to explore and create….you will see amazing things. Year after year I ask my self, why are the students in The Hive Classroom always so engaged with loose parts? What creates this type of success? It is not just having access to wonderful materials…you can’t purchase creativity.

The teachers in The Hive Classroom do an incredible job of providing a variety of materials, quality work space and large periods of uninterrupted time. They carefully introduce each material, slowly and intentionally into the classroom, making sure children are ready to use it safely and properly. This process allows for children to push past the first idea, or the first moment of boredom or the first conflict and explore problem solving skills and deeper levels of innovation.

The students in The Hive have been pushing their creativity with magnetic builders, loose wooden parts, blocks and other interesting loose parts…check out some of their interesting work!


What can you make using stumps and other building materials? I love the symmetry and balance that was achieved!
The wooden platform that these children are working on is such an inspirational building space. When children have different levels to work on, their play is instantly changed. I love the combination of wooden blocks, animal figurines and magnetic tiles.
Building zoos, habitats and homes! Aways a popular activity!
Building doesn’t have to happen on the floor! Using vertical spaces for building with magnetics encourages a new type of thinking! Suddenly children have to think about their creation in a new way!
Having a variety of shapes and types of wooden blocks is critical. Different shapes force children to find new ways to create balance and symmetry. Window blocks bring beauty and light. And diffferent types of wood allows us to explore texture and touch.
I love when I see a child build one of these beautiful magnetic “quilts”!
Teamwork tower building!
Adding a light projector to a space with translucent materials is such an incredible way for children to explore light, shadow and color. I love that in order to see their results the children had to build something tall enough for the light to hit it! What a wonderful natural challenge!


The Importance of Block Play

Students need access to different types of manipulatives, blocks and loose parts….but also need extended uninterrupted amounts of time to engage with them. Often we provide these materials, but then we don’t give our students enough freedom and time to truly explore their potential. Check out some of the wonderful ways our students explore these materials, and the wide range of skills that are being practiced!

Block play often leads to incredible dramatic play scenarios. When children are engaged in imaginative play they are practicing their storytelling skills, they are problem solving and resolving conflicts with peers….and most importantly they are trying on ideas, identities and roles that they may some day become!
It’s almost like you see the wheels turning in her head……the questions that are being asked, and the solutions that are being found!
When children play with blocks they explore shapes and size, they make comparisons and identify the properties of geometry!
Open ended materials such as duplos, allow students to create whatever prop or setting their story needs! These duplos helped these students create a tower perfect for Rapunzel!
Loose parts are such a wonderful way to expand children’s view! A caterpillar can be made from anything….including a collection of colorful blocks!
Loose parts can be found in so many places, and don’t have to be extensive! This collection of plastic cups and inexpensive candles is such a simple invitation for children to explore their creativity.