We love using cardboard boxes as an invitation to play. This week alone, they have been put to use as a boat and a dragons cave. I enjoy seeing what they will come up with next.


  • Cardboard boxes
  • Cardboard tubes


Step 1: As soon as they saw the cardboard tubes, they decided that they would be swords and built the rest of their play around that idea.

Step 2: They requested and assembled their castle tent. As always, we discussed the safety of handling the poles.

Step 3: They built a fort around their castle, then used some of the boxes to store their imaginary armour and food.

Step 4: They role-played snoring soldiers, having a noisy nap inside the castle.

Step 5: They defended their castle and fort. I’ve never seen happier soldiers on sentry duty!

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Communication and language

ELG 01 – Listening and attention:

Children listen attentively in a range of situations. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

ELG 02 – Understanding:

Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.

ELG 03 – Speaking:

Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively.

Personal, social and emotional development

ELG 06 – Self-confidence and self-awareness:

Children are confident to try new activities. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help.

ELG 07 – Managing feelings and behaviour:

Children work as part of a group, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

ELG 08 – Making relationships:

Children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.

Understanding the world

ELG 13 – People and communities: Children talk about past and present events. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.

Expressive arts and design

ELG 17 – Being imaginative:

Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through role-play and stories.