Cardboard Box Adventures – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Cardboard Box Adventures

Cardboard Box Adventures

Imagination muscles can be flexed outside or inside!  Janine Okmin, our Director of Education, introduces this imaginary play activity that builds collaboration skills.

Learning Goals:

  • Learn to Collaborate
  • Communicate Thinking

Materials Required:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Colored markers
  • Colored paper
  • White board or large paper and markers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Staplers and staples (optional)


  1. For older children, start by asking them to think about the following questions:
    1. What does it mean to think outside the box?
    2. When have you thought outside the box?
  2. In pairs or small groups (or whatever you can do!), have children brainstorm different things they can do with the box. What can the box be changed into? How could you interact with the box once it becomes something else? Write their ideas on a white board or a large piece of paper.
  3. Invite the groups to also brainstorm ideas for characters, setting, and action. These ideas can also be written on the white board or large paper.
  4. Once children have their idea, they can collaborate to tell the story by transforming their box using colored markers, paper, scissors, and tape.

Extend the activity:

Ask the groups:

  • How many stories can you come up with using the same box creation?
  • What changes could you make to this box to create an entirely new creation?

Tips for Adults:

Collaboration is more than cooperating in a group setting, it is about accepting and building off of the ideas of others. During this activity encourage children to practice “Yes, and” where they say yes to another person’s idea and build off of it.

After the activity, take time with your child/children to reflect by asking them:

  • How did you come up with idea?
  • How did you decide which ideas to use?
  • What happened when people came up with different ideas?
  • How did you handle disagreements?
  • What was the hardest thing about this project?
  • What was the most fun thing about it?
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