30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge: Playing with Junk!

Day 15: Playing with Junk
Wow! We are half way through the challenge already!

Play prompt
Rummage through the recycling box and pull out some boxes, tubes, milk jugs and whatever else takes your fancy!

Following your child’s lead, create something to play with together!


Model Making:
How about..asking if they want to make a junk model? What could it be? What shapes and materials would work best? How shall we attach it together? Let them be designer and planner in this project!

Cakie asked completely out of the blue to make a rocket the other day. She chose the things we would need to get started.

 When it’s finished you can use it to play imaginative games together or tell stories! C. played with this space rocket for many days, filling it with her play people and taking them on journeys to outer space!

Her finished space rocket! Complete with opening door and ramp for her little people to climb inside.

Play in a box!
I won’t say much about boxes here as they are a whole topic of another play challenge soon, but how about playing inside one (or two?!) It can become anything your child’s imagination wants. Add other bits and pieces to make buttons, levers, windows, doors…anything! Or simply get inside it and doodle all over it!

The girls made theirs into trains, cars, houses and then coloured all over the inside and outsides!
Combine materials!
Fill egg cartons with beads, buttons, pom poms, duplo blocks and have great fun experimenting with how things fit!
She loved playing with her wooden beads in a large egg carton and played with this many times over. Free play at its best
Pop exploring a milk jug and duplo blocks!

Adapt for baby:
How about cutting holes into a milk
jug or cardboard box and letting your
little one fill and empty it with blocks,
large buttons, bean bags etc? Lots of
hands-on investigation and learning!

Make a structure!
Jamie has a fabulous post on Hands on as we Grow about building ramps and driving on them with cars. Check it out here for another fabulous, open-ended 
play idea!

Discovery Boxes
Or check out the list of all the Discovery Box ideas we have put together on this blog, all using recycled or everyday materials for investigative play!

What will YOU do together? We can’t wait to see your ideas! Please leave a comment or join us over at The Play Network

[Please remember, this is just a play prompt. You are not being asked to replicate any of the ideas exactly from this 30 Day Challenge! We hope to spark an idea for an activity and give an opportunity to try something a bit different each day and the emphasis is very much on having relaxed, good fun and a really engaged play session. Remember to make it uninterrupted– turn off everything for at least 15 minutes!]

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It’s not too late to join the challenge! Read the original post here and go back to see what has been suggested already. Either start there or jump right in!

Tomorrow hands on: as we grow will have the challenge for day 16! 


  1. says

    Oh! Our recycling has just been collected but we’ll definitely be trying out the ‘lets see what we can make with rubbish’ next week. In the process of making Dinoland out of bits and boys. Think Blue Peter’s Tracey Island but for dinosaurs and safari animals :)