Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

February 16, 2014

Looking for new play ideas? Check the junk drawer!

Look no further than your recycle bin, junk drawer, garage, or storage room. The next time your kids go outside to play or take a trip to the park, bring along some materials to add to the playground. These materials could consist of wood planks, cardboard, balls, barrels of hay, fabric, plastic containers, foam, trashcan lids, and the list goes on. A study on playfulness looked at the benefits of “loose materials” for children to play with on the playground. It found that when given these “loose materials”, children’s active play, creative play, and social play increased. Adding these materials can certainly help children tap into their creative side by using the objects to make something else, or to set the scene for their imagination. Just think of all the things a cardboard box can turn into! It’s a fridge, a house, a rocket ship…. Just think of how the box can be used! It’s a hiding spot, a costume, a form of “transportation”…

I’d love to hear how your children are using ordinary household materials to tap into their imagination!

Melissa Petcu 


*Bundy, A.C., Luckett, T., Naughton, G.A., Tranter, P.J., Wyver, S.R., Ragen, J., Singleton, E., & Spies, G. (2008). Playful interaction: Occupational therapy for all children on the school playground. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 522-527.