Construction Time. Building with Boxes

Aug 17, 2012

Open Ended explorations for Children are vital in their development and constructive play is a great way to encourage this.

Children love to physically explore and manipulate materials as it helps them to gain a better understanding of their world and gives them the control to move, question and create.

Today M (3.5) and a mini mate, took on the role of 'Builders' and got cracking.

Ages- 2-6+

The Set Up
Creating an "Invitation to Play" is as easy as setting out a few materials to set the intention of the play and then let the kids go for it.

Materials: Empty cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes. Any play construction toys such as hard hat, hammer, drill, measuring tape etc

I also popped a "broken" stool in for them to hone their fix-it skills

The Play
First it's fixing time

Then time to build. Notice the added containers/boxes that the kids gathered themselves?
Their minds were working hard and were set on their task.

The ever evolving construction site. Builder J is busy drilling the front.

This type of play is fantastic for Collaborative play. 
Working and playing together with their peers leads to skills such as sharing, taking turns, compromising, working together, language development and so on.

Checking to ensure it's been built to specification. 
Note the addition of measuring skills, number recognition and so on.

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by simply providing the basic materials and letting the children loose on it. You could assist younger children with the building process. Talking with them about how to balance the items, which are best for the base, etc.

- Extend this activity by giving your child/ren a "brief" on what's expected. Join the role play fun by being a contractor who is calling in a building team for a particular project. Perhaps you need a building of a particular height, width etc. Add toy telephones to call your workers and explain what's needed. Be sure to add in other materials such as measuring tapes, spirit levellers etc. 

- Talk to your child about what they are doing/building in order to develop their cognitive skills (thinking) and language development. Not to forget the important bonding that takes place between you both.

- Giving children a different scale to work with or a different surface, etc, will affect their behaviour and will involve problem solving processes that they're unaware they're even using. They require concentration and identification. eg. These kids were building on a soft surface which makes their process slightly different to if they were building on a flat, solid surface

- Repeat this activity with different materials, in a different location, with different specifications... etc. Children need to be exposed to experiences more than once and mixing it up will ensure that they are focusing on, gaining or using different skills each time.

- If you don't have "pretend tools" etc... then make some! Let children use their imagination to find something or create something they think could be appropriate for the job.

Looking for more Pretend/Imaginative Play Activities?
Here are some of our favourites

Happy playing,
Debs :)

New Here? Subscribe to get all activities sent directly to you
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Are you on Facebook? We are and we'd love to see you there. You can also find us on PinterestTwitter  and G+ too. :) 


  1. So fun! Love that you just took a bunch of ordinary boxes and turned it into a fun, playful learning activity!

  2. What fun! She has a wonderful imagination!

  3. What great fun! We love building with box. And love that the girls are getting stuck in.

  4. That's a cute activity. I love how you had your kids fix the stool!

  5. Excellent post and super ideas for great times. Thanks for sharing!

  6. The blog is good enough I again n again read this.

  7. I just found this blog and I'm so excited! Thanks for sharing your insights to issues that really speak to the challenges of our profession in the 21st century.

  8. Very informative article. I think there should be an article regarding management softwares like Procore

  9. Located in Lake Worth, Florida, J&M Contractors of South Florida Inc. Roofing Division are your expert roofing contractors with a hybrid of experience and knowledge in the roofing industry, our team members have been serving Palm Beach County, Broward County and Martin County for over 30 Years.

    New Roof Installation Palm Beach

  10. I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post. בניית וילה


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love reading them all.