In partnership with Boulder Journey School, we offered cardboard to a group of teachers to play with. Inspired by the three-phase cycle of messing about, we took time to openly explore, to declare our intentions, and to reflect.
We chose cardboard as a material to mess about with because it is an eolithic find - it is easily accessible and often thrown away. All they had to do was ask and Boulder Journey School was flooded with cardboard of all shapes and sizes. We also chose cardboard because it is such a friendly material - it is lightweight, transformable, and its possibilities are endless.
One teacher began the evening with a big burst of gross motor - she invited the participants to play hide-and-seek. Once she’d explored the room this way, she crawled inside a box and drew representations of the evening. We wondered whether children have this same need - to own the space physically before settling in.
One teacher went large. She built and constructed and worked on her own. When asked about her creation, she said she preferred not to share - until the end when she felt comfortable explaining both her vision and her process. We wondered how many children have this similar need to focus without explaining.
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One teacher created a 3d representational collage. She didn’t intend to - she just started making and watched where it went.
Another teacher created a 3d non-representational collage. She did mean to. She remarked she had long been drawn to the texture of the a cross-cut of cardboard and wanted to play with that. Another teacher, drawn from her own construction, joined in the texture exploration.
One teacher found interactive games to create in the cardboard. She worked on different pieces and saw the possibilities for engaging her work with others.
One teacher engaged with the cardboard in a fluid kinetic-sculpture type of way while traveling around the room to dialogue with other teachers. Her cardboard changed shapes and configurations as she moved.
We wondered at the individual projects we encountered. Was there a necessary piece to the parallel play that we engaged in? What would it have taken for us to engage in collaborative play? Was it safer to be engaged separately with the same material while we are still getting to know each other?
We wondered how the children would engage with the cardboard the following day?
The following day we discovered the Imagination Foundation's Global Cardboard Challenge. In collaboration with Boulder Journey School, we are hosting our own #cardboardchallenge to celebrate every day as a day for play! Click here to visit our challenge page. Follow us on twitter (@hawkinscol) to keep track of our adventures as well!