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Third grade students in Colson Elementary School’s Imagination Foundation chapter participated in the 2015 Cardboard Challenge

Colson students tackle the Cardboard Challenge

December 17, 2015

Third grade students in Colson Elementary School’s Imagination Foundation chapter recently hosted their first Cardboard Challenge by designing then building various games, play spaces, and structures out of cardboard, recycled materials, and imagination - then playing with them!  Nationally, over 100,000 children take part every year in the Challenge, which was inspired by the short film “Caine’s Arcade” and is sponsored by the Imagination Foundation, a worldwide movement that encourages creative play through learning.  Using STEM techniques, and combining academics with creativity, the Colson event brought focus on designing for fun.  Although the designers were all from the third grade, the entire school was invited to join them in the Cardboard Challenge play date.  On that Saturday, members of the Imagination Foundation wore their STAFF shirts and showcased their creations while assisting other students in playing games and explaining how they built their projects.

According to Colson Imagination Foundation sponsor, Jessica Walrath, there are over 100 chapters worldwide.  She says, “My chapter has 16 students who meet every Monday.  We worked on creating cardboard games, objects, and structures.  A letter was sent home about a month before the challenge letting families decide if they would like to make something out of cardboard.  Students and families were invited to come out and "play".  Games included a football toss, beanbag animal toss, mini-golf, fishing, and board games.  Showcased items included a treehouse, guitar and hat, drawing station, and castle. When asked where they got all the cardboard for the projects, Ms. Walrath stated that, “I asked staff to save boxes for me.  Our cafeteria staff had also saved boxes after deliveries and some of the students in my group also brought in boxes.” 

One of the many great results from participation in the Cardboard Challenge and other Imagination Foundation-sponsored activities is that the students involved are excited to come to school on Mondays. It also gives the students an opportunity to collaborate, learn, and build the things they imagine, and it teaches critical thinking, teamwork and other 21st century skills. Ms. Walrath emphasizes that, “These students work hard daily and have strong leadership skills.  Each one of them will step up and take the lead on a project/idea/challenge. I truly love working with these students and learning along with them!” 

For more information about the Cardboard Challenge and other projects at Colson Elementary School, visit their Chapter website at You may also want to check out the Imagination Foundation’s website,

Watch “Caine’s Arcade” on YouTube at


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