Teashells, Marble Runs and all things Fun. (Come Play with Me! Series 2)



For those who missed my First part, please read Come Play with Me! Series 1 before you continue this post for an idea of the whole series.

On this second series, this post touches on selecting materials. Check the rationale behind them here at Kate and Racheous. This is also very closely related to the idea of using Loose Parts for play. You can read further on this theory at Racheous and Kate gives 10 reasons on why she loves Loose Parts.

Basically, I reorganised my loose parts and considered the possibilities of creative play with them. I also considered the interests of my kids. For example, They love marbles (glass) and heart shaped beads (plastic). I included them and selected other different types of materials like

  • the Natural Seashells (big and tiny ones)
  • the Organic Clay Beads (recycled from an old and broken necklace)
  • Smooth Pebbles
  • Flat round buttons
  • Light 3D Paper Stars and my mum’s Tiny Teapot Ornaments.

I try to have a variety of texture, varied sizes and weight for a more versatile experience. The other important material to consider would be the containers we use to hold our loose parts and where or how these materials can be placed, displaced, categorised or simply just re-contained. For example, I provided empty mini jam glass jars, spice glass jars, a few bottle caps, paper cup cake holders and used glass bowls, clay bowl, a pretty plastic tray to hold the lil teapots. Even the teapots are a source of containing mini items! I also re-used the golden R ocher chocolate tray and egg carton trays for free play. I was hesitant at first to use breakables until I read Kate and Racheous’ rationale on not only providing beautiful things for aesthetics, but also provide children the real life experience of handling them for a sense of practical learning. I embraced myself the second time and set up the invitation to Play. I was pleasantly entertained by them.


1-IMG_7455      A doing his free play.


A organising his play and set up his teapot session, with ‘teashells’ servings….

1-IMG_7463E (youngest) exploring the materials.


J helping himself to the containers and jars.

1-2014-04-091  A has an eye for use of spaces -used the side groove for Marble Run.


I was intrigued by this set up and thought how this resembled real life brewing of tea when A put his tiny teapot on top of the glass jar. I couldn’t help chip in on the fact that in olden days, people used charcoal for the flame to brew tea. Then I asked him what might be appropriate to illustrate that ‘flame?’ At first he used random stars, then I prodded a bit more on what the flame colour might be likened to? And that’s where this came about. Of course, I could have just stopped there and allowed his random stars but I thought this could be a ‘teachable’ moment on how we can relate real life to Imaginative Play as long as they are open to our lead. If let’s say he had insisted on his own version, I would just let him be. This is afterall, his play, not mine. : )


Another lesson that I learnt from this was the risk that I took when breakables were provided. The teapot was really fragile and everything went well until P L i A n NNN gg G! ONe of it broke. My heart skipped a beat. Haiz… Why now when it’s almost over and why this precious sweet lil thing??  I was about to grumble and regret and then I remembered the purpose of it all – For them to learn from real life experience. This is it. Instead of reacting, I explained the meaning of fragile and that the material of the teapot was ceramic clay that has been broken. It is a breakable object along with glass. This is their first experience of broken objects as we all know better to provide them with plastics and metal dishes for daily use to avoid such cases like this. Nontheless, I did give them a serious talk as beforehand I had cautioned them over the use of these materials. This object that was broken can never be replaced as it can’t be found easily nowadays. Even if it can be replaced, it’s no longer the original ones from grandma. In future, they needed to be extra careful if they desire to play with or use such materials. Overall, I feel it is a good introduction for future basic usage of breakable plates and cups as I feel they are ready to learn how to handle them.

I also vividly recalled a worthy thought on how we should place more value on humans than on possessions. Do we value our children more or the exquisite sofa more?

We do need to educate them on being responsible but more than that, we educate them on the value of persons being more important than possessions. And it starts with us demonstrating it. (Of course, on hindsight, if the teapot was really a treasure, then I shouldn’t have used them for play at such a beginning training period.I just couldn’t resist it!)

Funny how this play could lead to so many afterthoughts on values and lessons learnt. Let’s continue to learn through Play with especially our lil ones. : )

Let LOOSE, and let Loose Parts be a part of our PLAY! : )








    • Thanks for dropping by with your kind words! Yes, kids are! That’s the beauty of such open ended play, it sparks off so much imagination. Hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the series. : )

  1. love this! do u give your kids any loose parts for them to use on a daily basis? i m thinking of putting some at a place they can access anytime.. any suggestions?

    • Glad you like it. : ) I do let them play with loose parts since a few years back on a regular basis. However they’re not as refined as the recent ones. I keep the loose parts in boxes or containers instead of glass or wood and bring a few mixes out for play. They consist of wooden blocks, rings, yakult bottles, marbles, pom poms, real screws, nuts, bolts etc. Each time I just do a remix of combination for a fresh play. If this is new to your kids,maybe you might want to set up permanently non breakables for a start until they’re familiar with breakable s for play? Just a few range would suffice and change them weekly? Have a variety of texture e.g. smooth, coarse, clean cuts. What interests your kids? Include a few that they like to play with and introduce new parts that you find interesting in the house or natural leaves sticks. Am sure you’ll have great ideas for selection! Enjoy! : )

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