Imagine kids having fun and being creative using just cardboard boxes and tape.
No electronics, no directions, just an opportunity to use their imaginations.
This is 2013, right?
During two days this month, Chaparral Middle School 6th-8th grade students closed their textbooks, went outside their classrooms, and enjoyed a day of cardboard play.
Students in the Design-Based Learning core worked in groups to design and build anything they imagined using cardboard boxes and scraps.
The sounds of kids having fun and being excited filled the air as their ideas took shape.
Sixth grader Dereck Chen doubled-over laughing as teammate Ethan Cheung took the reigns to demonstrate riding the bucking horse they built.
“They’re making something out of nothing,” science and math teacher Maggie Strand said.
“The Cardboard Day of Play is based on a little boy in East Los Angeles who made an entire arcade out of cardboard last year,” explained humanities teacher Sherry Robertson.
"On Saturday October 5, people all over the world took a day to create cardboard designs.” Robertson said. Chaparral hosted their events on October 4 and 7.
Imagination Foundation, a non-profit organization, has raised $250,000 to help send Caine to college. This event is their first initiative designed to encourage the idea of creativity.
“It’s pretty awesome and our kids are being very detailed,” Robertson added.The two teachers mingled through the different groups cutting tape for the “never before seen” creations.
“Kids have great ideas all the time, but nobody validates them,” Strand said. “In the experiential DBL classes they’re both encouraged and validated.”
“I’m seeing you being creative and I’m seeing how you’re thinking about your learning. You guys are smart and you’re making things that are interesting and fun,” she said to the cardboard designers.
The Chaparral students had room to spread out and get creative in the garden area just outside the new science building classrooms.
One group built a classic skeet ball game. It featured a clever slot where a student crouched inside fed the winning tickets to the player. No flashing lights or arcade music required for this cardboard fun.
Another foursome came up with a flip football game.
“There’s a lot of games, but ours is the best,” the team said in unison.
“Instead of having goal posts, we decided to have circles,” explained Omid Shayegh, age 13.
He came up with the flip football idea and Esther Kim thought of the twist of having circle-shaped goals.
Tanya Yang said she helped with the mechanics.
“My dad is good at this and I used to hang out with him,” she said.
An empty peanut box was transformed into the popular claw machine with a pile of stuffed toys inside.
Students cut out a coin slot on the front of the game, stretched plastic wrap across the top and cut slits in it for the claw.
A group of eighth graders made a sling-a-mole game.
“You have to hit the mole, not the human (on the reverse side), said Angelina Kim, age 13.
A 6th grade team created a tank from an empty vanity box. They built a chair to control it from the inside.
“We’re making a computer screen, cup holder and weapon too,” said Ashley Fang, age 11.
“I like working with everybody, instead of doing it by myself,” said Sydney Robinson.
When they finished, the group happily played in their cardboard vehicle.
“This is our awesome tank with an awesome driver’s seat and awesome window, awesome door, and awesome workers,” Ashley Fang said.