We frequently see a young child get more enjoyment and stimulation out of playing with the box a toy comes in than the toy itself. Likewise, playing with loose parts such as cardboard tubes, scarves, and seashells encourages creativity in a way that manufactured toys often do not. Infants and toddlers love to explore their environment; to touch and taste everything they can get their hands on.

Loose Parts 2 offers numerous ideas for ways caregivers of infants and toddlers can support their child’s development using materials that are readily available and often free or inexpensive. The book also gives suggestions for materials that are safe for this age, yet also offer imaginative and open-ended play possibilities. Visually, the numerous large, full-color photographs of loose parts in beautiful containers will be highly appealing to readers, who can get many ideas just from browsing the photos. Don’t skip the text, though; the authors provide explanations for how play with loose parts supports a young child’s development. Each chapter begins with a description of a learning process, followed by appealing photographs of play ideas that support that process. This book effectively reminds us that the play value of objects rests not in the cost or flashiness, but in the creativity it inspires.