Heuristic play and loose parts (part 5)

Heuristic play and loose parts (part 5)

Heuristic play ideas

Heuristic play is all about finding out ‘what things will do’. A good Heuristic Play collection should contain a wide range of open ended resources which toddlers can explore and investigate. These will include:

  • natural materials such as cones, bark, large seed pods, shells and pebbles
  • a range of household objects made of wood, metal, fabric and rubber such as lids, lengths of sink plug chain, bunches of keys, lengths of fabric and ribbon, rubber door stop
  • a variety of reclaimed materials either collected yourself or sourced from a creative recycling centre


A heuristic play collection might include:

  • rolling things - balls made of different materials, hair rollers, small tubes, cotton reels
  • stacking things - set of coasters, blocks, mug tree with bracelets and wooden rings, set of nesting boxes
  • posting things - shoe box with a hold or slot in the lid, coasters, CDs, wooden pegs, large buttons (50mm+)
  • carrying things - small baskets, paper carrier bags, ice cube trays