Play time by the book as city’s libraries think outside the box: Playboxes CL

05 May 2023

Play time by the book as city’s libraries think outside the box

Libraries Arts

Colourful boxes full of fun have been rolled out in libraries across the region as part of an innovative project to help children and families with early years learning.

Developed by Leeds Libraries in partnership with Playful Anywhere and Play Explore Art, the mini playboxes will be brightening up 14 libraries in areas around Yorkshire and Humber after a successful pilot in eight libraries in Leeds.

Each of the brightly-coloured boxes contains games and activities which focus on encouraging early speech, language, communication, and numeracy and which families can easily recreate at home.

Contents of the boxes include everything from measuring spoons to a dust pan and brush, pegs for counting and ping pong balls.

Free to use and with no time limit, it is hoped the boxes will help boost learning and creativity while also supporting local families with their learning both at home and in the library.

The regional rollout of the playboxes has come as part of a project to mark the Coronation of King Charles III and has been made possible through generous funding from Arts Council England and Libraries Connected Yorkshire and Humber.

Andrea Ellison, chief librarian with Leeds Libraries, said: “Our mini playboxes have been a beautiful and inspiring addition to our libraries in Leeds and it’s wonderful to see them being added to more libraries across the region.

“It’s a great example of how libraries are now hubs for creativity, learning and innovation where local residents and families can come together and experience something fun and interactive.”

As well as libraries in Leeds, other locations with a library taking part in the project include Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster, East Riding, Hull, Kirklees, North East Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Rotherham, Sheffield, Wakefield and York.

Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “It’s fantastic to see our libraries leading the way in providing new and imaginative opportunities for children to have fun, play and learn in a supportive and welcoming environment.

“Libraries are special places for people of all ages and it’s wonderful to see this colourful and imaginative project expanding to other libraries around the region.”

Mini playboxes are available now in selected libraries around Leeds. To find out more visit: Mini Playboxes in Leeds Libraries | Leeds Inspired

More information about Playful Anywhere can be found at:


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Leeds City Council Communications team