I love watching young children play, and the creative things they come up with. Today I got to see the theory of loose parts in action. (As Amy from The Wonder Years puts it: "The term 'loose parts' refers to an object that can be used alone or combined for play. A loose parts play object has no set of specific directions and can be manipulated by the child to allow for both physical and creative experimentation.")
I found a piece of foam my mother was throwing away, the same shape and material as a pool noodle, only smaller and with no hole in the middle. So I chopped it into chunks and set it aside. When Kay was playing in her pool today, I brought them out and, together with a random bucket, she had a blast.
The pieces floated, just like a pool noodle would, so at first she threw them in and jumped in to "rescue" them. Then I pushed the bucket in the water and we tried to throw the pieces in. (I wish I could think of a name for these things. All day I've just been calling them the "floaty things!")
Next she lined them up, to wait their turn to go down the slide. She found a condiment holder, like for a picnic, that had never been used and she's played with before, and then she was squirting the pieces and pouring water on them. I was just amazed at the pleasure she got from these simple things we had around the house. The imagination of preschoolers and toddlers will never fail to amaze me!