The Global Cardboard Challenge and learning in Early Years

The Early Years learners yet again had the pleasure to be a part of a global event that celebrates, honours and promotes creative play. Last Friday, they joined thousands of children around world to explore their creativity and imaginations by participating in the 7th Global Cardboard Challenge.

What is Global Cardboard Challenge?

“This is a global event inspired by the short film Caine’s Arcade. The Global Cardboard Challenge is an annual event presented by to celebrate creativity and the role communities can play in fostering it. The Global Cardboard Challenge is a year-round campaign where children of all ages are invited to create anything, they can dream of using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination.”

Setting the stage

The event was introduced during early years assembly on Monday 30th September through a story about Caine, the boy who inspired this global phenomenon. The learners were encouraged to participate in the event and think about what they would create, how and from where they would procure materials before planning and drawing their designs. ‘Big box little box’, ‘Not a box’ and ‘What to do with a box?’ were read to spark imaginations and generate ideas for creations. ‘What to do with a box?’ ask any young child, you will be pleasantly surprised by their weirdly wonderful ‘out of the box’ thoughts and ideas.

The large chunks of time dedicated for collaborative play are perfect for organizing events where all early years learners can play, explore, collaborate, interact and inspire each other. EY1 and 2 had the opportunity to explore giant cardboard boxes the next day, in the garden outside the secondary library. They climbed into boxes. They took turns to hide. They rolled, pushed, dragged and carried boxes from one place to another. Imaginative and creative play developed authentically as the children began exploring larger boxes in the garden. The power of open-ended material combined with the innate curiosity that the young children possess, what a combination, a delight to watch.

The finale

Friday morning, soon after the morning meet and greet, we headed towards the Primary Library. EY2 and 3 were waiting eagerly with their drawings and tools amongst several piles of cardboard boxes. The challenge was declared open upon our arrival and everyone scattered searching for the things they needed, frantically. Within all this apparent chaos, one could notice interactions that the learners had with materials and each other. Observing, comparing, analyzing, negotiating, sharing, trying, failing and trying again were some of the things that were witnessed.

Eventually ideas began taking shape. Some stood out from a distance whereas a few needed a couple of nudges and encouragement. As the young innovators, engineers and designers, began making sense of and the purpose of their play, cries for help and frustrations, were drowned by sense of joy, pride and achievement. They remained focused and undaunted by the presence of a group of photographers who were busy capturing their every single move.

It was fantastic to observe many Approaches To Learning skills on display. Groups were formed spontaneously as individuals began collaborating and working on similar ideas and projects together. Being inspired by and appreciative of each other’s hard work showed their open- mindedness. Lending hands to clean up afterwards an awareness of their responsibility towards environment.

The event was not just a challenge to encourage play, imagination and innovation but an instrument that carried a strong message of simplicity, humbleness and sustainability for learners young and old. Until next year!!!

Early Years Team.