Cardboard Box Adventures – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Cardboard Box Adventures

Create short skits inspired by the imaginative things you can explore with a cardboard box, incorporating characters, setting, and action. This group activity helps children collaborate and practice divergent thinking.

Materials Required

  • Cardboard boxes (1 per pair or small group)
  • Colored markers
  • Colored paper
  • White board or large paper and markers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Staplers and staples (optional)
  • Device to watch the short video Adventures of a Cardboard Box

Instructions

  1. As a group, think about the following questions:
    • What does it mean to “think outside the box?”
    • When have you “thought outside the box?”
  1. Watch the short video Adventures of a Cardboard Box about a boy who is thinking outside the box.
  2. Afterward, talk about the video:
    • What does the boy do with the box?
    • What is imaginative about what he has done?
  1. In a group (2-5 people works best), create a 1-2 minute skit that tells a story of a box. Include characters, setting, and an action. The skit is acted out silently—show actions non-verbally.
  2. Using the prompts below, brainstorm some different things that you, as storytellers, can do with a box. Write these ideas on a white board or on a large piece of paper.
    • What can the box be changed into?
    • How could you interact with the box once it becomes something else?
  1. Brainstorm some ideas for characters (who are you?); setting (where are you?); and action (what are you doing?). These ideas can also be written on a white board or large paper.
  2. Select one of the ideas, collaborate to tell the story and transform the box by using colored markers, paper, scissors, and tape.

Additional Tips

Try this add-on activity:

  • If there are many groups, create a story that includes all the transformed boxes.
    • Where might you find all of these transformed boxes and characters?
    • Would it be one place where you all are or separate places that you are visiting on a journey?

Links to Creativity

In this think-outside-the-box activity, children are asked to come up with lots of different uses for a cardboard box. This generation of alternative and unusual uses is a classic approach to divergent thinking, the brainstorming of ideas that occurs during creativity. As children practice and become better at thinking divergently, they are more likely to make associations between different ideas that others will not; leading to more original ideas and thus, creativity.

Supporting research includes:
Guilford, J. P. (1956). The structure of intellect. Psychological Bulletin53(4), 267-293.

McCrae, R. R. (1987). Creativity, divergent thinking, and openness to experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology52(6), 1258-1265.

Runco, M. A. (1991). Divergent thinking. Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.

Torrance, E. (1972). Can We Teach Children To Think Creatively? The Journal of Creative Behavior6(2), 114-143.

Contributor

This activity was created by Diana Rivera, Inner-City Arts Teaching Artist. For more information and resources see Inner-CityArts.org. ©Inner-City Arts.

Cardboard Box Adventures

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