Creative Thinking, Education, Games, K-12

Life After the Cardboard Arcade

This is the 2nd year that I’ve participated in the annual Global Cardboard Challenge, inspired by Caine’s Arcade.  After last year, I had three goals in mind for this year’s event:

  • increase the number of students making games
  • increase the number of students who play the games
  • find a way to integrate the project with raising money for a charity

Last year, my GT students at the school were the only ones who participated.  This year, we started a school Maker Club.  With the help of two other amazing sponsors, we were able to add 24 more students to the roster of game designers.

To increase the number of players, we changed venues.  We moved the arcade from our school to the party rooms at a place called Main Event.  Main Event is an entertainment complex near us that offers bowling, laser tag, a ropes course, and video arcade as well as food and drink.  So, families could enjoy our games and make a night of it.

There were some amazing games included in our arcade.  Two of the more notable ones were a huge Sphero obstacle course created by a group of 6 students and a human fortune-telling machine! (Check these projects out in the slide show and videos below.)

For our charity, the students selected Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, a local organization that helps wildlife that have been injured to recover and return to their habitats as well as offering “forever” homes to wild animals that will never be able to survive on their own.

Our event went really well.  We raised over $700 for our charity and everyone seemed to have a fabulous time.  As an added bonus, sponsors from WRR came to our arcade and selected some of the games to be donated to the organization.  They will be sending us pictures and videos of the games being used for primate enrichment!

And that leads me to wonder how many other ways our games could have a second life next year.  Many of the students dedicated hours to creating their masterpieces.  It would be nice to give those games more than one day in the spotlight.  Monkeys aren’t the only ones that might appreciate them once the Big Event ends.  How about donating them to a Children’s Shelter, a hospital, or possibly a local library?  Admittedly, none of those is quite as exciting as watching a monkey play your game, but there are definitely many ways these creative projects can keep on giving…

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11 thoughts on “Life After the Cardboard Arcade”

  1. Congratulations!! Your blog is so helpful as we continue to embark on our Maker Club journey. We have 31 kids signed up for our after school club which begins Nov. 4. We plan on the cardboard challenge to get us started and joining the DIY site. Your students have been an inspiration. Thank them for us!!

  2. Thanks for the big vision, coordination, and leadership to make this great event happen! I was there with my daughter who was on the Sphero team and my younger son. You put together a fantastic program that was rewarding for students, parents, teachers, and the nonprofit. Awesome job, thanks again!

  3. Thank you for doing this for the kids. I’m part of the environmental club at Volstate and I would love to see what you do first hand. Also I know someone that may be interested in using/borrowing some of these awesome cardboard games for an event coming up in Nashville, November 16th. What an inspiration!

    1. Thanks so much! It must amaze you to see how the impact Caine’s Arcade and the Imagination Foundation have had all over the world! We are grateful to you for the inspiration!

  4. I love the thought of giving the games a longer life. I have to admit it was sad to see the pile of cardboard games at the end of our Cardboard Challenge. It went to a recycling center, but not the same as being played. I am going to check out our options for that for 2015. Thank you!

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