OLD metal teapots and disused tyres are replacing some of the more usual toys at an Inverness nursery in a bid to encourage greater creative play.
The Inverness College UHI early learning childcare centre has set up a "loose parts room" with items including ordinary everyday household objects.
The aim is to encourage the children to use their imaginations and have greater control over their play, and so far the idea is proving to be a great hit with the youngsters, according to centre manager Cat Mackenzie.
"Children are amazingly creative and will be able to use the most ordinary objects in a fun and enjoyable way and will adapt them as they please," she said.
The nursery has appealed to parents for donations of a wide range of objects including old microwave ovens, sandpaper, soil, bricks, pots and pans, moss, empty tins and blank CDs.
Ms Mackenzie said loose parts play allowed children to use materials as they choose in a more engaging and stimulating environment, rather than one which is static.
"It doesn’t direct play and play opportunities but allows children to develop their own ideas, problem-solve and explore their world," she said, adding that it also illustrated how parents did not have to buy the latest expensive toys to amuse their children.
"Give them a cardboard box and they will turn it into all kinds of things," she said.