~ Written by Lindsey Shafer, Early Childhood Educator ~
One of the incredible aspects of loose parts is that they are open-ended. Loose parts can be used in numerous ways throughout the indoor and outdoor classroom. By adding other materials to the hair rollers, endless possibilities are created. Here, we will explore 13 ways Velcro hair rollers can be used with a variety of other materials to engage and inspire children’s play.
1) HAIR ROLLERS & FLANNEL BOARDS-
Velcro hair rollers can be used in combination with a flannel board or felt board by allowing the children to stick the curlers to the board. They can also throw curlers at the board to support any children with a trajectory urge.
2) HAIR ROLLERS & CONSTRUCTION-
Hair rollers can be used in the construction area of the classroom to build structures by sticking the rollers together. They can also be added to a variety of other building materials to create numerous types of structures. Daniel uses the curlers to build a tower by stacking them on top of each other to form an upright structure. Emily uses the curlers in combination with paint sticks to explore balance while creating a structure.
3) HAIR ROLLERS & DRAMATIC PLAY-
Hair rollers are also a great addition to the dramatic play area of the classroom. They can be used in place of plastic play food to allow the children more creative and imaginative opportunities. Maria uses the curlers by stirring them around in a pot and says excitedly, “I’m making breakfast!” Then, Diego and Isabella join Maria, and bring all the cooking items to the table to set up a picnic.
4) HAIR ROLLERS & WATER-
Hair rollers can be added to water for a great sensory experience. 12 month-old Sophia enjoys exploring the wet hair rollers. She continuously picks them up and drops them, causing the water to splash. She laughs and repeats the process over and over again.
5) HAIR ROLLERS & SAND-
Hair rollers are also an interesting addition to a sand table for another sensory experience. The children may use the curlers for scooping and dumping the sand. They may also use the rollers for small world play. Daniel uses the large pink curler to create a cave and brings a piece of driftwood over to add to his small world from another area of the classroom. Isabella then places four curlers standing up near the driftwood and tells Daniel, “this is the forest.”
6) HAIR ROLLERS & LIGHT TABLES-
Hair rollers can be added to the light table for children to explore how the attributes of curlers change when another element is added. Children can investigate the changes in color and the translucency aspects of hair rollers. They can also explore reflection by adding a mirror to the light table.
7) HAIR ROLLERS & PROJECTORS-
Hair rollers can be added to the projector. This is a great extension after having the children explore curlers on a light table children can place the curlers on to the projector and be amazed by the shadow reflection that is transferred onto the wall. Lindsay notes that you can see the texture of the color on the wall. Daniel likes the way the curlers glow on the projector.
7) HAIR ROLLERS & DESIGN-
Hair rollers can be used to create intricate design and art displays. Isabella and Maria use the rollers with black trays to make their different designs.
8) HAIR ROLLERS & PLATE RACKS-
Wooden or metal plate racks are another materials hair rollers can be added to. James brings the plate rack from the manipulatives area of the classroom to the curlers placed on a nearby table. Then, he places the curlers onto different areas of the plate rack and continuously adds more to each prong until the rack is completely full.
9) HAIR ROLLERS & A PLASTIC BAG HOLDER-
A plastic bag holder is placed with a basket of hair curlers to see how it may be explored. To begin, the bag holder is stuck onto the wall upside down. Isabella places the curlers into the various holes and is delighted to see them fall into the basket below. When Diego joins, he attempts to place the curlers into the top, but discovers the rollers cannot enter from the top due to it begin solid from being turned upside down. Diego removes the bag from the wall and places it right-side up, so the opening is at the top. He then attempts to throw the curlers into the bag holder from a few feet away. Each time one goes in, he exclaims, “score!”
10) HAIR ROLLERS & CRATES-
When exploring space and size, hair rollers can be added to a crate with various sized round holes. Daniel and Maria try the different sized curlers in the various holes and succeed in getting some curlers to stick. Other curlers fall into the crate and some, such as the large pink ones, are placed to the side after Maria says, “this one is too big. It doesn’t fit.”
11) HAIR ROLLERS & CANS:
Hair rollers can be added to a variety of painted cardboard cans to support sorting, classification, and exploring space and size. Diego takes each curler from a nearby basket one by one and places each curler into the matching can.
12) HAIR ROLLERS & MUFFIN TINS-
In combination with a muffin tin, hair rollers can be used to explore space and size, sorting, classifying, and patterning. Isabella begins by placing three different colored curlers into the muffin tin in different rows. When placing the blue hair roller into the tin, she attempts to get it to stand upright again and again, but it continues to tip over. After several tries, she removes the blue roller and places a larger yellow roller into the tin instead.
13) HAIR ROLLERS & SCARVES-
Hair rollers can be added to a variety of fabric materials such as scarves. Here, scarves have been tied onto a wall dowel climber and the children string the rollers onto the scarves. Daniel keeps pushing the pink roller all the way to the top, but it continues to slide down the scarves to the floor. He then places the smaller blue, yellow, and green rollers onto the scarves, and again tries to place the largest pink roller at the top.