Sunday, October 13, 2013

20 Playful Ideas for using Pallets at Preschool

The time has come to breath some life back into this blog.

And what better way to kick start things than an tribute to my love affair with the humble pallet.

As anyone who works with the budget in an early childhood setting knows only too well, money never stretches far enough.

And even if it did, the most interesting materials and resources tend to be those that are found and reused in creative ways, or real life objects uncovered at garage sales or Op shops.

Enter the wooden pallet.  Often available free of charge, or to be found for a measly $10 from a nursery or recycling centre, the pallet is an open ended resource that can be put to use in a learning environment in a myriad of ways.

Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Pallet Gardens:

The perfect solution for gardening with children in small spaces, and a nifty way to liven up those bare outdoor walls:

A vertical herb garden from Shelterness

2.  Pallet houses

A more ambitious project, but too irresistible not to include:

3.  The Foundation for a Cubby Space:

4.  A Handy Play Surface:

5.  Taking Things Apart:

6.  Book Shelves:

10001 Pallets

7.  Displays

Early Learning Services

8.  Outdoor Kitchens

9.  Multi Purpose

The clever folk at Oac Child Care have adapted pallets for use in a number of interesting ways.
Using one pallet, or two joined together a sheet of ply has been attached to the top and painted with blackboard paint.  Lockable wheels have been added to the base, and voila!  

Perfect for indoor and outdoor spaces, it can be a chalk board, a table, a play surface for imaginative play scenes, a place to sit on, climb on or jump off.

10.  A Shoe Rack

Pallet Furniture DIY

11.  A Pathway

12.  A Place to Take a Load Off:

Wooden Pallet Furniture

13.  A Place to Hang your Hat

Pallet 101

14.  Water Play Station: 

15.  A Boat:

16. Pallet Wall:

17.  Loose Parts for Play

18.  Building Platform

19. Pallet Construction

20.  Garden Tool Storage

Our Little Acre

Tips and Tricks

Selecting your Pallet

It pays to be choosy when selected the right pallet for your project.  Reject pallets that: 

  • smell
  • look oily
  • are stained
  • are extra heavy
  • have too many twisted or protruding nails
  • look suspect, period

Preparing your Pallet
Always be safe and scrub the wood down with disinfectant and soapy water. Rinse well, and allow to completely dry. Remove or saw down any nails that are protruding from the wood.  Sand back any splintered surfaces.

Looking for more Pallet Inspiration?

DIY Recycled Pallet Projects for Kids from Mummy Musings and Mayhem
DIY Pallet Play Table from Little Inspirations
Pallets for Re-purposing and Play from Creative Star Learning

or browse these Pinterest boards:

Pallet Play

Over to you.  
What have you created for your children at home or in an early childhood setting using pallets?

PS.  It's good to be back.


  1. I love pallets! The kids like to use ours as a stage, or forts but we have also made tables, balance beams and planters with them here. Endless possibilities. I love the pallet houses featured above!

  2. What a great blog post to come back to life with, Jenny! Thanks for including my water run. Being a bit of a pallet junkie myself, I've a couple more blog posts on the theme. My favourite is this one - effectively a pallet town in the East of London The place even had students on internships creating things from pallets!

  3. My word, you have hit the blog running my dear! What a fab post ...I am in inspiration heaven here!
    Thanks so much for including my kitchen and pallet post. They truly are such a marvelous thing aren't they? We have 2 currently sitting in the front yard awaiting an I have many, thanks for such a great post, it's lovely to have you back.

  4. Fantastic! These ideas are so aesthetic. Also my mum works for the company that makes that blue pallet. Thank-you for sharing these ideas!

  5. Before using a pallet for a project, especially for kids, better check whether it has been chemically treated or whether it's safe. This website has useful information:

  6. Thank you so much for an amazing post, you have inspired me beyond words and solved so many problems, pallets may have been the thing I have been looking for to regenerate a building that could be an amazing play space.

  7. This blog is fully fabulous in all aspects. I am definitely coming back again for additional contents of yours. this contact form

  8. Wow, this is such lots of wonderful idea. I haven't ever thought that we can use the pallets for so many purposes like that. I only used it as Book Shelves.