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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET center, they offer children invitations to draw, sculpt, collage, explore, and extend their ideas. Such opportunities shouldn’t be confined to the art area, though. Fill your indoor and outdoor settings with open-ended resources to encourage cre- ative expression everywhere. Children’s sense of beauty can be as easily seen in their arrangements of sticks lined up side by side, wooden planks propped sym- metrically against a lodge, rock mosaics laid in sand, and pinecones arranged in spirals. Sensory Exploration Young children learn through their senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste are how they initially make sense of the world around them. Loose parts nur- ture their sensory play—think about the stunning colors of natural materials like moss, tree bark, and seashells. Stones click together and blocks crash down. When children play with water and open-ended materials, they learn about the sound and weight of poured water, about filling up a bottle, and about making bubbles. Children’s capacity for touch is deepened when they experience the tac- tile qualities of objects that are rough, smooth, prickly, spongy, wet, furry, fuzzy, bumpy, slick, abrasive, hard, and soft. Their sense of smell develops when they are exposed to fragrant loose parts like herbs, cocoa mulch, spices, pinecones, dry leaves, and flowers. Because hands-on experiences with materials are criti- cal to early learning, it’s important to include sensorily challenging and pleasing loose parts in your ECE setting. Movement and Music Music and movement capture children’s attention and hearts. Much movement for children takes place through self-directed, self-initiated play as they freely move their bodies (Edwards, Bayless, and Ramsey 2009). Movement possibili- ties with loose parts such as scarves, hoops, and ribbons are endless and provide opportunity for children to improvise. Musical play often means hitting items as hard as possible to see how they sound, and loose parts offer almost limitless opportunities to explore sounds that can be exuberant, random, noisy, and chaotic or quiet, gentle, and focused. Almost all chil- dren will naturally have the ability to interact 18  chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL