#repurposingforplay – PVC Pipe

PVC Pipe: Who’s ready to Build?

We have a big bin full of various sizes of PVC pipe and buckets of connectors. Next to it are bedsheets and clothespins. The lids are open and ready for children.

Children peek in, curious. “What can you make?” I ask, priming the pump.

Some children only need an invitation. They have ideas. Given permission to play, they enter a world of design and imagination. Others may need inspiration and time to think.

PVC. It’s a powerhouse of possibility for open-ended, problem solving and creative thinking. PVC pipe is a versatile and utilitarian material for play-driven STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) exploration.

Instead of designing for children, inspire them to create. What are their ideas? Become their assistant and let them lead the way. Houses, forts, and castles are only the beginning. PVC pipe can add an extra element to water play.  Can the water reach from one point to another? Can you assemble the pipes to make water come out of more than one place at the same time?

Is it better to play with PVC or Lego®?

PVC pipe makes big play possible. Plus, it is rugged enough for inside and outside play. Depending on the size of the pipe, PVC can be as portable as Lego®. The decision to build with PVC or Lego® depends on what a child wants to do. But, there’s no reason to not enjoy both.

Take a new look at the hardware store

Look at your local hardware store with new eyes. There are excellent open-ended “toys” ready for eager builders.

In this series, we’re striving to inspire the use of everyday things for play. Use the tip sheet here to help start the process. Be sure to come back next week for more. 


Comment below with your answers

  • Do you have PVC you could donate to your children for play?
  • Where will you keep your play PVC?
  • What do you need to add to the PVC building set? (sheets, clothes pins, more connectors, etc.)

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