Cardboard Challenge

Join the Global Cardboard Challenge! Using cardboard boxes of different sizes and shapes, construct a unique or new creation and then make up a narrative to go along with it. This challenge was launched in 2012 by the Imagination Foundation, which provides information, videos, and tips on the Cardboard Challenge website. To register your participation in the Global Cardboard Challenge, visit CardboardChallenge.com. For inspiration, watch the short films Caine’s Arcade and Caine’s Arcade 2, and look on the Internet for other inventions by searching #cardboardchallenge.

Materials Required

  • Cardboard boxes of different sizes and shapes
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape or painter’s tape which can be removed easily
  • Household recycling items (cardboard tubes, egg cartons, plastic containers, etc.)
  • Craft supplies for decorating (markers, pipe cleaners, buttons, pom poms, glitter, bells, paper, aluminum foil, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Come up with a creation using cardboard boxes of different sizes and shapes that can be played with. To help spark ideas, consider these questions: What might the creation look like? What part of the creation do you want to start with?
  2. Using household recycling items and crafts supplies decorate the cardboard creation.
  3. Create a narrative to go along with the creation.
  4. Share the creation with others—participate in a group challenge day, organize a showcase, or post images of the creation online.

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Put mystery items into a basket. Build a cardboard creation using only these items.
  • Base the creation on a theme, such as electricity or something you find on the playground.

Links to Creativity

Having limited resources can make you behave more creatively. Since this activity relies so heavily on cardboard, it is inevitable new ways to use it will be discovered.

Supporting research includes:

Stokes, P. D. (2007). Using constraints to generate and sustain novelty. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1(2), 107-113.

Stokes, P. D. (2009). Using constraints to create novelty: A case study. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 3(3), 174-180.

Contributor

This activity was contributed by the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. ©2014 Bay Area Discovery Museum. It was adapted from materials produced by the Imagination Foundation. For more information and resources see CenterforChildhoodCreativity.org. To register your participation in the Global Cardboard Challenge visit CardboardChallenge.com