Parachutes outdoors are great!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Free play with cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes

Play Day was successful and interesting to observe how different pupils played/used the resources so I am going to look at each resource separately.

Both boys and girls enjoyed the cardboard and plastic tubes, but it was predominately boys who used them. Every session (8 sessions during the day) saw around 10 - 15 boys continually playing sword fights, light sabre battles, weight lifting and making pirate ships with boxes and tubes. These were boys of all ages from 5 to 12!

The cardboard boxes were popular with boys mainly.  Lots wanted to sit inside them, especially the younger pupils.  If we had had much bigger boxes, I wonder if the older boys would have done the same.  This boy, in the photo below, spent a good 5 minutes in the box.  He closed all the flaps so you couldn't see him and then made a gap to look through.  He was very entertained by it!

At every session some pupils put all the boxes together to make a car or ship and worked collaboratively to role play, usually pirates!

Above is a pirate ship with bubble wrap sail!

The boxes and tubes (donated by a parent) were very very popular and amazing to see how much fun they got from them.

Two teachers commented that it was good to see the boys (mostly) getting some of their aggression out during sword fighting play and they said if they were allowed to play like this more often then they would be more settled in class.

Only 2 pupils out of around 450 got hurt when using the boxes and tubes and both were very minor injuries.

The only downside was when the drizzle came on, then heavy rain in the afternoon and the boxes got soggy and fell apart!


  1. Judy, this looks great fun! I'm running some free play sessions in Union Terrace Gardens this summer so was interested to hear that it was your boys that were really inspired by the cardboard.

    Do you now have any ideas on how to involve the girls in this type of play?


    Mandy (Tulloch)

    1. Interesting question, Mandy. I wonder if it was the way I set out the boxes near to the long cardboard tubes which made the boys think sword fights and pirates? If you put some cardboard boxes along with interesting colourful fabrics or dressing up clothes, perhaps the girls would find a different use? Free play would make a great research project! I'd love to come along to one of your free play sessions in the summer holidays if that is OK?