OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Using discarded wooden pallets for projects and play places for kids.

There are many great ideas on here of using basic materials to help kids be creative such as a cable spool to bake a play seat or clay, rocks and sticks to craft a cell phone. These go me thinking of similar projects with shipping pallets, these have been taking off around the world. In many places wooden pallets are abundant and inexpensive, they are reused by companies one or twice and then discarded. These then can be reclaimed/repaired and then can be utilized for many different children friendly projects. Depending on the resources that are available pallets can be a material with endless potential. I have personally built furniture, shelving, compost bins and an A frame cottage out of them.

Photo of Robert Smart
5 5

Written by

As you can see in the images above the items that can be made for kids are easy to build with basic hand tools and fasteners. Most of the projects the older children can be involved with creating and building. The younger kids can be participating also by painting and decorating the finished product. The potential for learning by creating something useful and fun out of waste is a concept that can be fostered at an early age. Creating play places for children that they can help to make will not only peek there interest in building/creating but can also give them a place to be proud of. 

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

The people of any area can be involved.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

People are building wooden structures for play places and other household use all around the world, the concept is being tested in back yards are we look at this. The only drawback is if the pallets are not readily available. For a given area the first 3 things I would do are: 1. Locate a source for free or inexpensive wooden pallets 2. Build some small test projects to plant the creative seed 3. Have the children suggest building concepts and start building

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

We would have to find the companies to supply pallets and locals to help the with the transport and building process. These are not permanent structures but some basic construction knowledge would be a big help; safety will also be important so knowing that the structure is sound is also key.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • This idea is meant to inspire. I hope someone else takes it on!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dafne Melo

Very good images! I like your idea, it is simple, not expensive and it is durable as well! Good job!

Photo of Isadora Dantas

Great choice of images, they prove this idea can be done with the simple material of wooden pallets. Maybe you could add small toys made with recycled materials to this environment as well (ex: cars made of plastic bottles).

Photo of Irene Blas

create toys , entertainment and leisure
for children is a wonderful news.
Great job!

Photo of Amowi Phillips

Robert, Thanks for building on the "Micro playspaces" post. Recycled pallets are indeed a material with endless potential. They are also relatively easy to move. Can you see ways of combining pallets and spools for play?

Photo of Meena Kadri

Nice one, Robert. Could be cool to join conversations on this idea too: Looking forward to seeing more of you on OpenIDEO...