Cardboard Challenge!

[ 0 ] September 30, 2013 |

By Providence Children’s Museum

This weekend, Providence Children’s Museum invites kids and families to design and build original creations using cardboard, recycled materials and their imaginations.  They’ll collaborate to invent and construct games, gadgets, robots, rocket ships and much more!


The event is part of the Global Cardboard Challenge, the second annual worldwide celebration of child creativity and the role of communities in fostering imaginative play, that was inspired by the film “Caine’s Arcade”.

But the fun isn’t limited to the Museum — kids can create their own cardboard challenge at home!  Gather materials including scissors, tape, glue, chalk, crayons and markers and…

Collect cardboard in its many wonderful formsCardboardChallenge2

  • Boxes of all sizes — big appliance boxes, shoe boxes, tiny jewelry boxes and everything in between
  • Paper towel, toilet paper and wrapping paper tubes
  • Leftover pieces of packaging and the backs of writing pads

Create a cardboard world

  • Cut doors and windows in big boxes to make castles, forts or houses that you and your friends play in. Decorate with colored chalk, pieces of fabric, ribbon and tape.
  • Use small boxes to make a world for action figures, dolls and toy animals.  Use cardboard scraps to create houses, furniture, vehicles and more.
  • Make a little diorama (a scene) in a shoebox.
  • Make mazes and roller coasters for marbles or small balls. Tape cardboard tubes together and roll balls through them.


A note to grown-ups

  • Give your kids time and space to create.  If you can, let them have an area that they can return to day after day.  It will be messy but the best play often is.
  • Watch to see when and where they need help.  Kids’ scissors won’t cut a window in a big box, so ask your child to draw the window with chalk and cut it out for him with box cutters.
  • Take the time to observe your children’s process as well as their creations.  You’ll be delighted by their ingenuity, persistence and imagination.

Cardboard Challenge takes place at Providence Children’s Museum on Saturday, October 5 and Sunday, October 6 from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM and is recommend for ages 5 and up.  Activity is free with Museum admission; for more information, visit


Category: free / cheap, kids, play, preschool, Providence Children's Museum, teens (13 +), tweens

Children's Museum

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The mission of Providence Children's Museum is to inspire and celebrate learning through active play and exploration. The Museum creates and presents interactive play and learning environments and hands-on programs for children ages 1 - 11 and their families. Located in Providence's Jewelry District. Museum educators and other staff contribute monthly articles about topics related to children's play and learning. Articles advocate for the importance of play to children's healthy development and are full of great ideas and resources, activities to try at home, and much more. For additional ideas and resources, visit the Museum's website and blog. Also join the conversation about the need for play on the Museum-hosted PlayWatch listserv (

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