I am always on the lookout for items to use for loose parts. Recently I used my collection of wine corks to make a wreath, but didn’t use the plastic corks that come in some wine bottles. I decided they would be great loose parts for children 3 and older (they would be a choking hazard for infants and toddlers), but wanted to disguise them and make them more colorful before I put them out.
Materials: plastic wine corks, colorful duct tape 2 inches wide, and scissors. Its fun to have more than one color of duct tape. If possible make some of them with patterns and some that are solid.
Cut (or tear) the duct tape so that it is long enough to wrap around the cork. I used tape on a cutting board to measure out each piece.
Cut (or tear) the tape so that it is a little narrower than the cork. Leaving a little cork border on each side of the tape looks good and the tape is less likely to come off.
Carefully wrap the tape around the cork. Make sure you press it down firmly.
If the top is damaged from the corkscrew, just place a small square of duct tape over it.
Place them in an open top bin in the block center, table toys, dramatic play, or any of your other centers. The children might use them to count, build, measure, sort, or make a pattern. They might use them in their symbolic play such as pretending they are food for the animals or money in the store. They might make up a game using them or create an artistic design. Loose parts provide for a wide range of possibilities and the only limit is the children’s imaginations.