Cardboard Creations – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Cardboard Creations

Cardboard Creations

Start from scratch or think outside the box to come up with creative ways to expand on your previous Cardboard Challenge. The cardboard is your canvas!

Learning Goals

  • Be Curious
  • Come Up with Ideas and Try Them Out
  • Make Thoughtful Decisions
  • Build STEM Knowledge

Materials Needed

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Tape (optional)


Gather pieces of cardboard from around your space – try boxes from the mail or food boxes. Whatever you can find!

Once you’ve begun building your cardboard creations, you might find some places need additional support or flair.

  • To join two cardboard pieces without using tape, cut small slits where those cardboard edges will connect. Then, turn them so they make a 90 degree angle. Slide the two pieces together. You can add more pieces like this and create a whole structure!
  • To more easily attach a cylinder to a flat side, cut small strips at 1 end of the cylinder. Then, press the cut end down on your palm or another flat surface to fan the strips outward. This will make it easier to tape down or secure to another piece of cardboard.
  • To add a shelf, cut a slit in a cardboard wall. Then, make an arrow-like shape out of cardboard, with the base of the arrow being a little smaller than the slit in the wall. The base of the arrow should slide into the wall, with the point of the arrow facing outward. Now you have a shelf!

Tips for Adults

Building (blocks, forts, cardboard) helps children develop 3D reasoning skills. Turn this play into engineering learning by asking questions like, "What could you do so that your (block, cardboard, plastic cup) tower doesn't fall down?" or "Can you make a bridge that could hold five of your toy cars, even if a big wind came?"

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