Shopping with children can be fun!

How a visit in a DIY store can become an adventure.


Leroy Merlin, one of the world’s largest DIY chain stores, commissioned Architects of Play® to create a project to help parents and children explore the entire store area while shopping together. As they do, they should have fun and enjoy the time spent together.

Out tasks

Create an innovative shopping formula

Come up with a field game to be played within the store

Provide training for the staff

The challenge

The challenge was to come up with an innovative activity that would build an enthusiastic atmosphere of a family trip around the visit in a DIY store. Another challenge was to encourage players to visit every aisle in the store. As a rule, when parents take their children shopping to Leroy Merlin, their visit is short and focused on making specific and quick purchases. The project for Leroy Merlin was also supposed to highlight the idea of spending time together and having fun while shopping.


At first sight, a DIY store does not sound like an attractive space for parents with children. On the other hand, when arranging their flats and houses young parents do take their children shopping with them. Parents are tempted by all the places in shopping malls where they can leave their child as they do shopping. But these are not available everywhere, and even if they are, they isolate the child from what is going on in the store.

The solution

With a group of children, we started exploring the space of Leroy Merlin to see which areas are interesting for children, what attracts them, inspires and catches their eye - and we created a map. The map contained a sensory path: it indicated those areas that appeal to a child's senses. For instance, the map of adventures showed the way to the solar land of flares (Lighting Department) and the land of elephants (Plumbing Department). The map included missions and instructions (eg. to find the carpet with the highest pile). For older children there were also missions involving measuring articles such as ceramic tiles (with measuring tapes, pencils and paper available throughout the store). Also, the map was enriched with gift ideas for the child, so parents could go through the store with their child looking for specific articles they could later use to assemble a toy (eg. a wheeled platform for teddy bears). With this gift formula, the child not only gets a material present but also the time and commitment devoted by the parent. The parent, on the other hand, gets a suggestion of a specific gift idea, and a solution. Of course, the map can be expanded with new scenarios for specific events and may include more ideas for parent and child to build something together.

The outcome

Architects of Play® created an innovative concept of shopping through play for parents and their children.  The project involves drawing children into the world of adults, helping them learn by doing, playing and collaborating. Guiding players through the various departments, this unconventional field game played within a store also motivated store personnel to build relationships with customers (employees had been prepared for the new shopping formula in advance). The adventure with the map at a Leroy Merlin store left special memories of shopping with children on that day. And there are more adventures to come!

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