We don't run to a schedule and almost every day looks different. But our days are child led. For us this means a whole lot of free play outside! Today I felt the need for some new materials. What was in order? A trip to the toy store, some online shopping? No! A morning visit to our local Reverse Garbage.
I phoned ahead to make sure they were open and I spoke to Kirsten (Creative Director), who I have proclaimed an expect in early childhood loose parts play. Kirsten later greeted us at Reverse Garbage (Sydney) and showed us around. Kirsten and her team were busily packing loose parts bags for early childhood educators and I couldn't help but take a peek, the bags were full of fun and interesting bits and pieces, bursting with colour and texture.
Reverse Garbage and many similar community recycling centres offer an alternative. It's not just that all of the materials are recycled, it's not just that it is affordable. It's that the materials have life, a story, they are not supposed to be used in one particular way.
They have lots of loose parts in bulk...
We'll take some of these!
They also have lots of one-of-a-kind type items.
It is an inspiring place to visit, today it was bustling and full of creatives.
Our children's art teacher Danielle recommended visiting after Mardi Gras as there are often lots of excess materials brought in. Today there were a few materials which looked left over from Chinese New Year celebrations and these sparkling hearts below could have been from Mardi Gras. There is so much variety here. If you are not sure what you would like, ask and speak to the staff. Kirsten in Sydney was super helpful and the staff in Brisbane always had a ton of ideas.
Otto and I picked out a selection of loose parts like plastic off cuts, chunky green rubber bands, wooden bangles, large chess pieces, lots of paper cups, shredded metallic paper, and white screw top containers. This white milk crate was only $2 and we will use it to store some of the larger loose parts and perhaps for outdoor play.
Back at home we take the loose parts outside. I was going to put a mud kitchen here but instead I think it will be more of a nature study area - for now it's for loose parts play. Today was an absolutely stunning day in Sydney and this area is shaded by a towering Eucalyptus tree. I love this type of outdoor play, the child is truly free, it is warm and he is free from clothing restrictions (no hats, coats or gloves needed) and he is barefoot. There are two magpies on the fence just above Otto, chatting away.
Otto was out playing with the loose parts for hours, only stopping for a food or toilet break. He used the loose parts for:
- pouring and scooping
- transferring with tweezers
- opening and closing containers - lids on lids off
- role play
Otto was super focused on pouring here. On my next visit I want to pick up some of their foil/silver cake trays which would be fun to use and create some shiny reflective surfaces for play.
Do you have a Reverse Garbage type recycling centre near you? We loved the one in Brisbane. It's larger than the one in Sydney so if you are in Brisbane, you have to check it out.