Loose parts nature play is unstructured play that promotes creativity and imagination, increases physical activity, promotes cooperation and communication, reduces stress, improves psychological well-being, and fosters decision-making, appropriate risk-taking, and a connection to nature. Unstructured play helps children learn about the world around them with no fixed instructions. This enhances critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and adaptability as they experiment and discover new ways to play.

Loose parts kits are a collection of items that are used to build and create in a free, unstructured environment. We have a variety of materials to choose from for the loose parts kit including fort-building materials, nature items, exploration materials, and small world creation figures.

Photo of a child posing in front of a fort she created, a close up of small word diorama, two children pretending to drive a car with a natural wood steering wheel


Where to Get One

Kits are housed at the City of Austin Parks & Recreation Annex (919 W. 28th 1/2 St, Austin, TX 78705). Community members who wish to borrow the kits may check them out from the Parks and Recreation Annex, 919 W. 28th ½ St, Austin TX 78705. Park at the front of the building off West 28 ½ St and ring the bell at the main entrance.

 

 


Specifications

All kits come with a large, collapsible wagon to transport the contents.

  • Tree cookies 
  • Fossils, shells & bones
  • Rocks, seedpods, pinecones & acorns
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Figurines (insects, animals, dragons, fairies, etc)
  • Fort building materials – bamboo (two sizes: 2’ -  3’ or 6’ – 8’ long), fabric, sticklets

Customize kit contents when filling out the Online Checkout Form. Reservations are subject to availability, we recommend reserving a kit at least two weeks prior to event. Kits are processed in order of request.

**Please note the length of the bamboo when customizing the kit to ensure your vehicle can hold the poles.*

Close up of loose parts kit that includes tree cookies, fossils, shells, figurines, and fort building materials


Borrow One Today!

Step 1. Fill out our Online Checkout Form

Step 2. Pick up your kit from the Parks & Recreation Annex

Step 3. Host your Activity

Step 4. Return your kit

Step 5. Fill out our Wrap-up Report

A photo of a fully loaded wagon used to haul the kit

Contact

For questions, please contact Yasmine Anderson, PARD Program Coordinator, at yasmine.anderson@austintexas.gov, or phone at (512) 974-9408.