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Playing Dens helps children to:

  • Be resourceful and imaginative
  • Improvise and adapt ideas
  • Discuss and co-operate
  • Be physically active
  • Take responsibility

Dens can be made using old sheets or blankets, big boxes, tents, grass cuttings, bits of fencing and trestle. Children might try covering a ditch, burrowing in a bush, using the bottom branch of a tree or learning something on the back of the shed.

Wherever they choose, they’ll enjoy using a torch, biscuit tin, plastic bowls and bottles, old saucepans – and maybe a picnic lunch as well.

It is helpful for adults to suggest or provide some space and materials and to keep an eye on safety issues. Make sure the den will be clean and safe, but try not to ‘take over’ the decisions.

Playing dens is a very good way for children to practise making sensible choices.