Loose Parts Play

ELPA Loose Parts Play logo

The Loose Parts Play project bring the everyday magic of play into school and community settings, improving health and wellbeing for all involved.


“Loose parts play is a way for children to play with what people would throw out. You use your imagination to make games and have fun.”
– Pupil, Musselburgh Burgh Primary School

“The noise of play has changed – instead of screaming, we’ve got chatter, laughter and percussion. There’s a happy buzz.”
– Teacher, Musselburgh Burgh Primary School

 ELPA currently manages two Loose Parts Play projects each funded by local area partnerships, and working with clusters of schools and community settings. The Haddington and Lammermuir project is a partnership with Support from the Start.

The Loose Parts Play Musselburgh project works across Musselburgh, Wallyford and Whitecraig. These projects bring the everyday magic of play into school and community settings, raising attainment and reducing inequalities.

Children lead our process. We listen to their experiences and ideas to improve play opportunities. We make these ideas happen by sharing information, advice, training and mentoring with teachers, nursery staff, lunch time supervisors, youth workers, local families and volunteers.

Our projects deliver the following outcomes:
Quality Play Experiences
Introducing loose parts play vastly improves the quality of children’s play experiences. We see a wider range of play types, more children playing together and more children enjoying being active. This has a positive impact on children’s wellbeing.
Improved Knowledge and Relationships
East Lothian Play Association works alongside all children and staff to provide a comprehensive package of training when introducing loose parts play. We are skilled at creatively consulting with children and young people so their views guide the process. We support everyone to feel part of the process, providing information and support to introduce loose parts play with confidence.
Community Involvement
Playing together as a community and family promotes healthy development and builds positive relationships. We work with community groups and families, providing training and play experiences to spread understanding and enthusiasm for loose parts play. In response to demand, we worked with local families to create a storybook about loose parts play to share widely. We consult with young people and have created play spaces with the involvement of the whole community.
Environmental Benefits
Loose parts are largely items that have diverted from recycling and landfill. We are building partnerships to support this and there is capacity to maximise the benefits for all involved.

We post regular updates to our Loose Parts Play pages on Facebook @EastLothianPlay and Twitter @ELoosePartsPlay

Loose Parts Play resource link: https://www.inspiringscotland.org.uk/publication/loose-parts-play-toolkit-2019-edition/

Contact the Haddington and Lammermuir Loose Parts Play Development Officer: Kelly Clarke kclarke@elcschool.org.uk