Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Parenting, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Websites

Built By Kids


As I have been watching my students contentedly sawing, punching holes, and finding all kinds of ways to elaborate on their projects for the Global Cardboard Challenge during the past couple of weeks, I have been more and more convinced that transforming the empty classroom next door into a Maker Studio is going to be the right thing for our learning needs.

I have started reading Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez & Gary Stager, and was wandering around the corresponding website when I found the link to “Built by Kids.”  As a person who grew up with her nose in a book and never actually contemplated creating something 3-dimensional, I spent my first ten minutes on the site wishing I could relive my childhood just so I could experience these projects from a child’s perspective.  And then I read the mission of Built by Kids, which includes the following statement:  “Built by Kids is created WITHBY and FOR children. We celebrate the parents, families, caregivers and educators who value the power of creative development and are nostalgic for a time when weekends were set aside for building a fort or making models.”  And I realized that I don’t need to relive my childhood to enjoy projects like these.  With the help of sites like and Built By Kids, I can make sure my students can benefit from making things while I am beside them – helping, laughing, problem-solving, and sitting back to bask in their amazing creativity.

Art, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Motivation, Student Products

Global Cardboard Challenge

Yesterday I mentioned that I am working on repurposing a bookshelf to create a “Genius Bar” for my classroom.  Another project I am planning is to transform the old, gigantic, executive type desk that I inherited into a mini Maker Studio.  My vision is to put all kinds of materials in its nooks and crannies that students can use to create whatever they imagine.  I usually collect old boxes and various other containers for some of the projects my students do throughout the year, so this will be a place to store them have them readily available.  Access to the “Maker Studio” is going to be something the students will earn when they reach a certain level in my classroom. (The levels are based on the idea of gamification.  I’ll explain this more in a later post – not because I’m holding back on you,  but because I haven’t actually thought the whole process through yet!)

To kick off the whole Maker Studio idea, I am hoping to participate in “The Global Cardboard Challenge.”  This is a project that began last year, inspired by Caine’s Arcade.  The idea is to encourage kids to create cardboard creations throughout the month of September, and then to come together to celebrate and play with them on October 5th.  I completely missed the boat last year – but this year I am ready.  Well, I’m kind of ready.  I need to start collecting cardboard.  That part is kind of important, I suppose!  We may not be “official hosts” this year, but we are definitely going to get involved, and I hope you will, too!

photo from Global Cardboard Challenge 2012
photo from Global Cardboard Challenge 2012