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20 Printable Play Mats with Grapat Loose Parts - Free Download

At Oskar's Wooden Ark we are proud to be able to work with the best and most creative content creators around the world. Ruth from @a.day.for.play is definitely one of them. If you haven't seen her creations yet... we promise you and your children will love them!

Ruth's hashtag #adayforplay_activities shows a wide range of stunning ideas which are a mix of activity prompts and mandalas mainly made of our popular range of Grapat Wooden Toys

Grapat Wooden Toys are famous for their loose parts. At Oskar's Wooden Ark we stock the whole range of Grapat Wooden Toys.

Printable Play Mats (free download link below)

After countless hours of hard work, Ruth published her "Printable Play Mats" FOR FREE (you don't even have to leave your email address) with the following introduction:

"Over the last few days, a number of people have been sharing ideas and resources to help keep children busy over the coming weeks. I know how much I have appreciated these, and I wanted to offer a few of my own. I have created 20 simple ‘boredom buster’ play mats that are free to download and print (you can find the link in my bio). I would suggest printing them to A3 size if you can, but A4 will work fine too.

These are simple invitations to play with loose parts, and are based on some of the activities we have done in the past that I have shared on my Instagram page @a.day.for.play. If you aren’t familiar with loose parts, please don’t panic. All you need for these activities are items and materials that you likely already have lying around at home, such as stones, sticks, buttons, Lego bricks, mini pompoms or dried beans. Please do check out the instruction booklet for more info.

There should be something in here for children (and adults) of all ages, with a focus on mindfulness, learning through play, imaginative play and FUN! Enjoy!

And if you’d like to share what you get up to with these, please tag me, @a.day.for.play,  or use the hashtag #adayforplay. There are going to be some challenging weeks and months ahead of us, but let’s try and make every day A DAY FOR PLAY!

Please note that loose parts can be a choking hazard for very small children, and children under 3 should be supervised."

Much Love and happy playing,
Ruth from @a.day.for.play

Step One: Gather The Loose Parts

What are loose parts?

Loose parts are natural material or small objects in one's environment, that can be manipulated and used together in a variety of ways, encouraging open-ended play and learning and allowing children to be creative and imaginative.

 Loose parts can be ANYTHING, from colourful pompoms, buttons, beads, washers, curtain rings, cotton reels, and counters to sticks, stones, leaves, sea shells, pine cones and flower petals. They can even be small shapes cut from cardboard, lego bricks or store cupboard ingredients like dry cereal, seeds and beans.

You will also love our loose parts and wooden mandala pieces from Grapat Wooden Toys and these are often featured in the photos on @a.day.for.play. Grapat Mandala sets are also brilliant for role play, counting and sorting. You can get them in a Set of all Mandalas or individually.

Loose parts play assist in the development of:
- Creativity
- Imagination
- Problem Solving
- Fine motor skills
- Mathematical concepts such as shape, size, pattern and sequencing
- Storytelling
- Mindfulness

Ruth suggests to find a way to organise the different materials, whether in different bowls, baskets or boxes or in the Grapat Tinker Tray and keeping your loose parts collection available for whenever you and your little ones fancy a few moments of mindfulness or some quiet creative play.

Step Two: Play!

A child can be left to explore loose parts in an open ended manner, or you could offer them one of these play mats as a simple play invitation or prompt. Once they have completed an activity, the loose parts can be packed away and the play mat can then be used again and again. If you get stuck, examples of most of the activities can be found on Ruth's Instagram feed, @a.day.for.play.

This is an invitation from Ruth to take part and she would love to see what you get up to and what creative materials you use, so please feel free to share your play on Instagram using the hashtag #adayforplay.

 Let’s try and make every day a day for play! 

20 Printable Play Mats by @a.day.for.play

1. Abstract landscape artInstruction: Use your loose parts to fill in the different areas or regions of the image. Try and use different coloured or textured materials for each area to create a patchwork effect. Once you have finished, stand back and admire the colourful artwork your children have created and think about what it might resemble for you. Waves, perhaps? Or rolling hills and farmers' fields?

2. Butterfly symmetry

You will find details and activity instructions for all following play mats (20 in total) in the free booklet. The download link is listed below.

3. Colour-match bubbles
4. Counting bubbles
5. Invitation to decorate cookies
6. Dress up dolls
7. Invitation to decorate an Easter egg
8. Making faces
9. Invitation to create an underwater scene
10. Invitation to create a vase of flowers11. Invitation to decorate a gingerbread person
12. Mandala
13. Invitation to create a masterpiece
14. Morris the hungry monster
15. Form your name
16. Pattern trace
17. Rainbow colour trace
18. Shapes
19. Stencil fun
20. Invitation to create a scene for all seasons

Download your FREE printable play mats here: DOWNLOAD

This blogpost was published in a cooperation between Ruth from @a.day.for.play and Oskar's Wooden Ark - your place for handmade wooden toys. All texts, photos and ideas belong to @a.day.for.play so please credit her account if you make use of her wonderful ideas.

Next article A fun-filled activity guide to keep your kids busy

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