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Thursday, September 26, 2013

A box full of possibilities: Transforming and Modeling for kids

I am very excited to be volunteering at Caine’s Arcade for their first Anniversary on Oct 5th. Those of you who haven’t heard about Caine’s Arcade yet, it is an arcade built by a 9 year old using cardboard boxes. It is a perfect example of what kids can do with open ended creative endeavors. What a fabulous exercise in transforming and modeling. You can read more about transforming in my long string post and I will be writing about modeling soon.

Even before I heard about Caine’s Arcade, my son and I have been enjoying cardboard boxes. As a baby, he used to crawl into them, scribble on them, or just stack small boxes to make a tower. Then he moved on to pretending that it was a house, a car, a rocket ship and so many more things. Wish I had taken more pictures of him doing that.
Recently he is coming up with more elaborate ideas that I need to help him realize. After all, it’s not safe to let a three and a half year old to cut cardboard boxes. But I let him draw what he wants to be cut out or help him stick things together as per his instructions. It can be really hard to resist our own creativity taking over but I try to be an assistant following instructions, diligently. If he runs into some structural issues, I do try to subtly hint at a solution. Sometimes, I just state what the problem might be and wonder aloud what might work, but let him figure it out ultimately.

Here are two books my son really enjoys and are a great way to initiate their own ideas.

Pinterest has many projects done using cardboards. But please do yourself and your kids a favor and don’t start looking into those as yet. I hear from so many parents complaining that they tried doing a project with their kids as seen on Pinterest, but kids just did not sit through it. If you show them these wonderful looking things and ask them to replicate it, often times it feels unattainable and most of all the fun is gone if you don’t let them do what they want to. This obviously is becoming so common that there is a new term coined around it and there is so much buzz about the so called ‘Pinterest stress’. Having said that, Pinterest can be a great tool for inspiration and ideas after your child has already built several open ended projects that she came up with. Here are some ideas on my Pinterest board to save you some time, if that should interest you.
Here is a picture of a box sculpture we saw at Singapore National Library during our visit this summer.
Coming back to Caine’s Arcade, here is a link to a video about it. It is very inspiring and heartwarming. You might even want to watch it with your kids. My son loved watching it and soon we had many cardboard boxes around our living room for a few days, turning into very many different things.
So have you started thinking outside the box yet? Let me know what ideas your child came up with.