(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)
October 9, 2015
This week, armed with little more than cardboard boxes, a few trinkets and truckloads of ingenuity, La Cañada Unified elementary school students in the Gifted and Talented Education program crafted their very own arcade games, taking part in the global Cardboard Challenge.
Created by California-based nonprofit Imagination Foundation, the annual event invites children to develop inventive creations using only cardboard and recycled materials. Nearly 87,000 people in 45 countries have participated so far, according to the group’s website.
The foundation and the challenge sprung from a movement touched off by a 2012 short film “Caine’s Arcade,” about a boy who built a working arcade out of cardboard boxes in his father’s East Los Angeles auto parts shop. When a filmmaker discovered what the boy hoped would become a business, he organized a flash mob of customers to visit and filmed the journey.
Hilary Gregg, La Cañada Unified’s elementary school GATE coordinator, first posed the Cardboard Challenge to fourth-graders last year. It was so successful that this year she opened the three-day unit to all grade levels.
Students watched “Caine’s Arcade,” and learned they would design arcade games they could fit in a bag and carry to and from school. In the two remaining periods, they took in materials (sticking to a $10 budget) and learned more about the design process and the importance of peer-testing their games.
Kyle Park, 10, plays a cardboard pinball game at Paradise Canyon Elementary School in La Cañada Flintridge on Monday, October 5, 2015. GATE students in the class made games out of cardboard that they showed off and let parents play, all an effort to engage kids in creative play and foster ingenuity, resourcefulness and teamwork.
(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)Some students worked mainly in class, while others invented at home. On Monday, Paradise Canyon students tested their creations alongside their parents.
All lessons aside, play was the dominant theme of this particular activity, Gregg said.
“Our children’s lives in and outside of school are very structured, and we often forget the importance of play,” she wrote in an email interview. “I wanted to give these kids the freedom to use their creativity to imagine the game and struggle through the difficulties of making their idea a reality.”
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