Cardboard Construction, Tools

Cardboard Construction and the Global Challenge

I love using cardboard in my makerspace. It’s the most versatile and readily available material that you can get. As anyone who has kids – and has ever brought home something in a giant box knows – it can be used for play, for hours. You can also get incredibly sophisticated with it. People have made amazing things out of cardboard, such as a working electric car, furniture and full-sized Iron Man sculpture.

I think of the Fall as prime cardboard construction season since this is when the Global Cardboard Challenge takes place.  The challenge was inspired by a kid named Caine who created an entire arcade in his dad’s auto shop. The Global Challenge is now a worldwide celebration of making. It can also be used as a fundraiser for charities, if you want it to.

With past schedules, I’ve been able to involve the entire 5th grade in creating objects with cardboard for the challenge. The light box below is one example. Since there are around three hundred 5th graders, I had them work in teams. Even in teams, with that many students, there was cardboard on pretty much every surface of the media center! It was a worthwhile mess – it fostered team-building, creativity,  kinesthetic learning and imagination. In addition, the students are always very excited to share what they have made and it’s a great introduction to makerspace.

In order to help the students create cool things, without injuring themselves, I have them use Makedo Tools.  These tools are made specifically for cardboard construction and it’s almost impossible to hurt yourself while using them, although the tools take a bit of strength to use with thicker pieces of cardboard. I found the tools a little confusing when I first got them, so I created a video, Using Makedo Tools, to help anyone else who might need it.

The book that I mention in the video, Build and Manage a Makerspace for Kids, is still in process. When I have a firm publication date, I will post it here first! In the meantime…happy building.


Working light box created by students for the Cardboard Challenge.

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