The Global Cardboard Challenge

by Abbie Hahn, Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Junior Kindergarten and second grade teamed up to complete the Global Cardboard Challenge!

"Since 2012, in the fall of each year, kids everywhere take part in the Cardboard Challenge as a way to gear up for Imagination’s Day of Play. It all began following the overwhelming success of the short film, 'Caine's Arcade’, the story of a 9-year boy and his elaborate cardboard arcade."
- Imagination.org

At the heart of the challenge is an opportunity for the children to build whatever they can dream of using cardboard, recycled materials, and imagination.
First the children watched the inspiring film. Then they were broken into teams and began brainstorming as many ideas as they could. What can you build with cardboard and recycled materials? JK drew pictures and second grade made lists of all the ideas.

A couple days later, the children came back together with their teammates and reviewed their lists of ideas. They then had to pick one thing to build. This took great negotiation and cooperation, and after a while, each team came together on one idea.  Once the choices were narrowed down, the groups began drawing a blueprint, listing a materials list.

On the “Day of Play" students constructed their inventions. To kick off the day, the groups reviewed their blueprints and then went “shopping” (in the Exploratorium) for materials. Once materials were gathered, the groups began to work collaboratively to bring their blueprints to life. Teams spent two hours building, communicating, and working with their groups to create cardboard masterpieces. 

It was a great joy to see all the children participating, but most importantly to watch the second graders teaching the Junior Kindergarteners how to utilize materials (e.g., tape, scissors, etc.). At the end of their building session, each group admired their masterpiece and some even encouraged other students to play their cardboard game. Overall, the Global Cardboard Challenge was a huge success and a favorite of many!

Dr. Sherri Danyali, Director of The Experiential School of Tampa Bay said, “I loved seeing the creativity, collaboration, and excitement for making ideas into objects! Thanks for all of your efforts planning, facilitating and imagining this event for our students.”

View more photos here:


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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.