Journey of a Collection of Loose Parts (Never Give Up)

New loose parts for the playground.

New loose parts for the playground.

A month ago I cleaned out my basement. I found a collection. Ha ha, just kidding, I actually found A LOT of collections! Anyway, one of the collections I found was a bag of game pieces. Out they went into the Teahouse, displayed just so in a basket on top of a milk crate, right at the entryway. I also put out the little case that used to hold a backgammon game, but those pieces were long gone. The children had been playing dinner-birthday-restaurant party for several weeks and I thought, sure, these will be good ingredients/items for the different dishes they made each day. Or maybe they would use them as place setting decorations. Much of their play was about place settings. Surely, they would NEED these.

But no, they didn’t.

They didn’t even look at them. They worked around them. The game pieces sat on that crate for almost two weeks. The little suitcase must have been put to use immediately because it has disappeared. It’s probably buried in the sandpit or is inside one of the branch caches that you can see around the yard. I moved the basket of tiles. Look how lovely the tiles are! Pick them up! They clatter and stack! Mix them in mulch stew. Surely they will be put to good use.

But no, they weren’t.

I moved the basket to the top of the shelves and under the window where the children stack up the dishes while they cleaned the Teahouse floor only to reset the table each day. The children continued to stack the dishes around them. Once or maybe many times, the basket was knocked over, the tiles spilling. The dinner-birthday-restaurant party children would shake their heads. More mess to clean up! They would scoop them back into the basket. And then they would just set it back on the shelf.

Nothing. For weeks. Something I thought would be incredibly interesting simply wasn’t. I started ignoring the basket of tiles. But then, suddenly, this happened…

What signaled “pick me up”? Was it the rain that had collected in their mulch stews? The mulch floated, but would the tiles? Was it the color contrast of dark to light? It doesn’t really matter. The basket of tiles said nothing for so long and suddenly they started to talk. A lot.

What signaled “pick me up”? Was it the rain that had collected in their mulch stews? The mulch floated, but would the tiles? Was it the color contrast of dark to light? It doesn’t really matter. The basket of tiles said nothing for so long and suddenly they started to talk. A lot.

And then this.

A pattern of up and down. Buttons to launch a rocket? To signal a superhero? A secret password to order up a cake stew for your next party?

A pattern of up and down. Buttons to launch a rocket? To signal a superhero? A secret password to order up a cake stew for your next party?

And this!

This one I know because I was told — The numbers tell the builders how deep to make the mulch pile — and that isn’t a mulch pile anyway — it is a carpet.

This one I know because I was told — The numbers tell the builders how deep to make the mulch pile — and that isn’t a mulch pile anyway — it is a carpet.

Loose Parts. Never give up!