Crates are very popular at the moment in play and learn set ups. Not only are they great for storage but they can also be used in a variety of ways to inspire learning in your setting.

Here we show 12 of the best ways to use wooden crates in play.

Mud Kitchens

Create your own affordable mud pie kitchen area with a set of H Crates or wooden crates along with a set of rustic counters. A fantastic resource for open-ended play as children can create their own setups for all sorts of pop-up kitchens, encouraging independent play.

A variety of crates can be used along with smaller or large plank tops.

We love this pop up invitation to explore Halloween below - all set up on crates - perfect for potions and exploring autumn treasures.

Halloween Crate ideas

Worktop area for play and learn set ups

Use crates to set up pop-up areas for play and learn settings. The crates can then also be used for storage underneath.

Creating vehicles and imaginative play

Use H Crates for imaginative play. What would your children create? We love that the children at Busy Bees Ledbury have created a train using crates and wheels. Enough space for everyone!

Create cars and buses, taxi's and ice cream vans! The possibilities are endless. Just add tyres and a steering wheel!

Small World Set ups

Crates are perfect for creating small words in. Especially with the addition of our crate roof! From Medieval Castles to army bases, fairylands to Christmas scenes.

The tall units are perfect for storage and also small areas for small world play. Change them out each day or week to encourage change. Allow children to create their own setups or set up each unit for the week's theme. Crate Houses and tent roof inspiration below.

Use our crate garages set to crate areas for vehicles and cars. Use ramps to run down, have races.

Create a Bug Hotel

Create a bug hotel using old wooden crates. Stack with terracota pots, bamboo, logs, hay, bark, sticks, stones and old dry leaves.

Explore and investigate

Set up a crate to explore topics and themes. Below is an outdoor themed crate provocation for going on a leaf hunt.

Set up minibeast crates to explore and investigate, display natural loose parts treasures and finds. Explore birds or a season.

We love the invitation below to count spiders and frogs. A great way for taking early maths and numeracy outdoors.


Obstacle courses

Create obstacle courses in your outdoor classroom using H Crates. Place planks of wood across to create bridges and balance boards.

Tinker tray play

Our crate of tinker trays is ideas for displaying and storing all your loose parts and natural treasures. A perfect collection for creating tinker trays.

Large Loose Parts Play and Construction

Crates are perfect large loose parts. Allow children to create their own dens, obstacle courses, towers, shops and mud kitchens with this fabulous set.

Adding height in trays

Crates are great for creating height in your tray play. Use them on their side to create areas for exploring, storing items or creating areas of interest.

Crate Shelfie

We have a love for Crate shelfies here at Cosy. We love this outdoor setup using our wooden crates to display a beautiful array of loose parts and provocations. Encouraging outdoor play.

This indoor setup with a teddy bear theme including books for storytime looks so inviting and Cosy. Who wouldn't want to read here?

Some more Christmas themed crate shelfie ideas.

Storage Ideas

Crates are excellent for storage - they stack and look beautiful in your natural classroom. We have crates with shelves that you can add baskets to. Moveable crates on casters. Crates that work well under our mini deep tray and stand to store all your resources in. Even crates that hang from fencing to store books, drinks.

Create a Reading Book Nook or library

Create a book nook or library with our wooden crates. Display your books along with items that are linked to the book displayed - Story crate shelfie heaven!

Crate ideas

Take reading outdoors by displaying books in our shelved crates.

Check out our full range of Crates here. Do you have any more ideas to use crates in play?

Don’t forget to share your crate activities with us on our social media channels: @CosyDirect #CosyDirect #CosyClubIdeas #Tufftrayafterplay


With thanks to The Cosy Creatives and Cosy Club Members for this blog post and images.