Play in a box…what would you choose?

As one of 17 members in the new Free Time Consortium, London Play is mobilising an army of volunteers to increase children’s opportunities for natural play across London.

As part of this Taking Nature to the Streets project, we are developing a new idea called ‘Play in a Box’. The concept is to have a box filled with a fantastic array of simple items to inspire imaginative, outdoor play. The box needs to be small enough to be easily carried around by someone involved in supporting play activities such as street parties, Playday events or simply playing out.

We have a few ideas about what to put in our play box, but need your help to make it really exciting and innovative.  So… if you were on a desert island, and our play box washed up on the shore, what would you want to find inside?

To get you started, here’s what the London Play team came up with:

  • Marbles
  • Bat and ball
  • Old sheets
  • Bucket and spade
  • Butterfly net

We’re looking forward to hearing all your wonderful ideas – please use the comment box below to tell us about them!

14 Responses to “Play in a box…what would you choose?”
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  2. Joy D says:

    Ok so in my box/bag, I would have a tarp, some string/rope, a small knife, a couple of buckets,matches, bag of clay, a kettle/pot, water,hot choc powder.

  3. Jan White says:

    I think my list would be:
    Rope and string (plenty of it, long and short, thick and thin)
    Big plastic sheeting (clear market stall cover sold by Muddy Faces is fantastic)
    Tubes and cable reels
    The box/bucket itself (with a handle) and other boxes (bigger = better)
    Brushes (wide range tiny up to huge)
    Chalk (lots and lots of it)

  4. catherinetogut says:

    Thank you all for your comments, they have been really helpful.

  5. Chris Gregory says:

    A Slackline and put it between to lamp posts, put a blue nylon support rope just above it and I guarantee the kids will love it.

  6. Put the whole lot in a decent sized trug – I know they don’t stack well but they are versatile play resources in themselves. choose one that takes two smaller children or one older child to carry, to encourage a bit of collaboration from the get go. I’d add double sided sticky tape, treasure bags, scissors, a 10m measuring tape and some sticks…

  7. Oh I forgot to say – all the the above does fit into a suitcase with room for other bits and pieces.

  8. OK – In my desert island play box – especially for play in nature I would have:
    – Transparent tarp – see this blog post to say why
    – A natural coloured sheet (for bugs, playing games, den building, shade, dressing up, flags, etc). Also for art activities and games it’s so much easier to see the natural materials
    – Super strong roll of velcro with scissors for cutting into the required lengths (I’m lazy – it’s so much quicker than string for tying and so much stronger)
    – Fresnel lenses – so much more fun than magnifying glasses cos of the big size
    – 2 long brightly coloured ropes – see this blog post for the why
    – Clay because it works on tarmac as well as trees!
    – A Hammock
    – A pulley – one strong enough to create homemade zip wires!
    – A fishing net
    All this would not arrive in a box but in a suitcase on wheels with a handle.

  9. Would repeat many of Jo’s idea above. Old saucepans or pots, bark chippings, sticks, magnfiying glasses, pots can be used for ‘soups’ etc. or for collecting creatures. Binoculars, old sheet for den making,pegs, books. Just some of my ideas.

  10. homemadekids says:

    In terms of street parties – more than one bucket means you can throw things into them and have a one-on-one or team competition (eg, bean bags, potatoes, clothes pegs). Or if there are two buckets and they are sturdy enough you can turn them over and stand on them and strike a pose or play king of the castle. I love lucky dip too which you can do with some shredded newspaper and those pegs again. Also buckets make things easier to carry. Perhaps you could tweak your concept and have play in a bucket (far easier to carry!). Love your original idea. Nicola

  11. David says:

    Magnifying glass and some pots to collect beasties in

  12. Jo says:

    wood cookies, slices of wood, small bits of hazel or sycamore cut into 6″ pieces. Basically a bag of building blocks but natural.
    Pillow cases or white sheet for shaking bugs from trees into.
    pieces of different coloured wool for hiding caterpillars in the grass/trees/bushes etc
    bark and leaf rubbing stuff
    pegs/string or den building

  13. No suprise ..make sure its good box .. thats always the best bit! some string and pegs to add to the mix!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] of simple items to inspire imaginative, outdoor play. Thanks to everyone who commented on our last blog post here in April to suggest the contents of the box. From bean bags to chalks to netting and old […]

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