Scrap Stores for the Playground

In researching the previous post, I came across the mention that the ‘yellow submarine’ had been repainted with paint provided by the Children’s Scrap Project in Hackney, London, which collects waste from businesses (including paint) for free, performs a health and safety check, then displays materials in a warehouse for members to use for education and play alike…a boon to the adventure playground or the DIY playscape.

The Children’s Scrap Store in Bristol is a similar organization which goes an exciting step further by providing The Scrapstore PlayPod™:  a container full of repurposed materials and equipment (loose parts) for play.  See it in action:

There is also a more detailed video of the playpods here. There are currently 28 schools that have a Scrapstore PlayPod™ in their play ground; it’s a fast-growing concept that I’d love to see spread to other countries, especially my own USA.  Of course, here you can pay $7k to $25k (near as I can tell; prices are notably absent from their publicity) for some blue polyethylene foam pieces Designed By David Rockwell and heavily promoted by Kaboom. Make up your own mind.

There is a nationwide Scrapstores charity in the UK, which maintains a directory of all scrapstores there.    I’m wondering about scrapstores in other countries…I know of a few here in the USA but no comprehensive directory.  So, dear readers, tell me what you know about scrapstores!  Is there one in your area?  Do you use it?   If you know of a scrapstore, add it to the list I’ve started in the forum.

8 Responses to “Scrap Stores for the Playground”

  1. Zan said:

    Hello there! I work with Pop-Up Adventure Play and it fits in very well with the playground scene that you blog about! Check out and get in contact with me for more information! 🙂 Suzanna

    June 15, 2011 at 11:43 pm

  2. Veronica said:

    I love these videos of the kids playing the Scrap Stores!
    What an amazing idea!

    June 04, 2011 at 3:08 am

  3. PUN Hok Kan said:

    Just discovered your blog.
    It's so nice.

    June 03, 2011 at 5:47 pm

  4. farrarwilliams said:

    Durham, NC has The Scrap Exchange (, which has a similar concept – it includes a “make and take” room where you pay a small fee to just hang out there and make stuff. Or you can stuff a bag full of random bits, which my kids have done many times. It's more oriented toward crafting, but there's also a lot of industrial stuff there that can be repurposed for larger projects.

    June 03, 2011 at 5:25 am

  5. majorfun said:

    There's another resource I know of, also in LA, called “Trash for Teaching” – – We used to do things like this in the 70s. I think we called the “Teachers Resource Centers.” – there was one at the Durham Child Development Center in Philadelphia. They also ran workshops for teachers, and attracted some of the most intelligent, inspired teachers in the city – but more important, I want to thank you for such a beautiful post. That video of kids playing with junk just about made me cry. What a beautiful testimony to the genius of children and the validity of this whole idea!

    June 01, 2011 at 12:00 pm

  6. Peter Hoh said:

    In Detroit, there's Arts & Scraps. They've got a great video on their “About Us” page.

    June 01, 2011 at 3:33 am

  7. Peter Hoh said:

    In St. Paul, we're blessed with two such stores.

    ArtStart has a reuse store full of great supplies for teachers, parents, and crafty types. ArtStart runs art education programs, as well.

    And then there's Ax Man, which is more oriented to tinkerers and inventors, but the dust and sharp objects didn't stop me from taking my kids there when they were little.

    Here are some of my Ax Man photos.

    June 01, 2011 at 3:13 am

  8. Tracy said:

    wonderful! the rediscover center here in L.A. ( is a wonderful resource along similar lines. i have seen a satellite supply shed they installed at environmental charter in lawndale…

    May 31, 2011 at 10:21 pm

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