Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Oct. 9, 2012

I came, I saw, I cardboarded at the Global Cardboard Challenge!

Project Administrator, Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI)

On Saturday, I participated in the Global Cardboard Challenge; an event to encourage creativity, entrepreneurship and learning in children worldwide. Well, that’s the short explanation I used for going (you can read my longer explanation here). But, ask anyone under the age of 10 why they were there and they’d probably say that it was to build cool stuff. 

Armed with cardboard, sparkles, markers and prizes, I was ready to play! What I wasn’t ready for were the crowds; over 90 people packed up their boxes and headed to the DC event. While some brought games they made at home and others built them on the spot, everyone brought their imagination. There were some pretty impressive projects, from skee-ball to whack-a-mole and the game that “just launches cars.” 

The event was one of over 260 worldwide, from Australia to Uganda and beyond. The DC event was organized by a young woman named Daphne who loved playing with cardboard as a child. Daphne found out about the Global Cardboard Challenge through Caine’s Arcade – a viral YouTube video made by a kind stranger that showed the crafting talents of a nine-year-old boy and amplified the spirit of giving and volunteering. Because there was no event scheduled in DC, Daphne decided she would organize her own event for kids in the area. So she did. And like the film about Caine, it caught on. (She also used her professional architectural skills to build an impressive skee-ball machine which completely blew my cardboard handicrafts out of the water!) 

Children came to the cardboard play-day from all around the city for what they thought would be fun with boxes and friends. While it was fun and there were friends, I can tell you there was a lot of learning happening too. Some of the children there knew the science behind what they built: one kid explained to me that his whack-a-mole game used a lever system and another told me that his car-launching- game used gravity to well, launch cars. Most of the kids even knew about Caine, his cardboard arcade, and the Imagination Foundation – the organization behind this worldwide day of play and creativity. What’s more (and this is the really sneaky part) this event helped engage young kids in a global conversation about volunteering and collaboration. Not bad for a Saturday… 

The best part: the idea behind this day of fun and learning came to fruition because one person was moved by something he saw. He used technology to share that inspiration with others, like Daphne, and challenged them to start a worldwide movement. Daphne used the Internet to motivate me and fellow DC’ers. And now, I want to challenge you to make a difference. Let’s motivate others to connect, share and do some good today.