Why host a Cardboard Challenge?

Because creativity and creative thinking are critical skills for the future. And because it’s fun! By hosting a Cardboard Challenge, you are joining our global community of parents, teachers, and business and nonprofit leaders who are helping us realize our mission of fostering creativity and entrepreneurship in kids.

We put on the Global Cardboard Challenge because it:

• engages children in Creative Play

• fosters creativity, ingenuity, resourcefulness, perseverance and teamwork

• gives children an opportunity to explore their interests and passions, and make things that have an impact on others

• provides a platform for communities to actively foster and celebrate child creativity

• increases global happiness and makes for a happier, more playful world!


What Is Creative Play?

Creative Play is a process of play that results in the creation of an original artifact that a child has made. It begins with inspiration, and culminates in the sharing of a child’s creation in a meaningful public context. Creative Play engages a child’s creative faculties and helps to teach a number of 21st century skills.


When Is the Global Cardboard Challenge?

Our 6th Annual Global Cardboard Challenge kicks off in September and culminates in a global day of play on October 7, 2017, commemorating the flash mob that came out to make Caine’s day in the short film. You can plan your Challenge to take place over the entire month of September, with multiple days for kids to design and build (and explore different parts of the creative process!), or as a one-day event on Oct 7th – it’s up to you.

NOTE: If you are unable to host your event on a Saturday, just choose a day around around that time (perhaps Friday).


How do I host a Cardboard Challenge?

Hosting a Cardboard Challenge is simple and fun! All you need is a location (e.g., a classroom, local park, backyard, driveway, community center), kids (show them ‘Caine’s Arcade‘ to get them inspired), cardboard and recycled materials, and some imagination.

A Cardboard Challenge can happen in school or outside school. If you’re a parent, host one in your backyard with friends and family, or team up with a local school, business, nonprofit or other community organization. If you’re an educator, organize a Cardboard Challenge with your class, or get the entire school school involved. You can also host a Challenge for the kids in your after-school club or youth organization or through your company.

Here are some helpful resources to help you plan (including the Playbook from last year):

• 2016 Official Playbook
• Info Sheet from 2016
• Logos
‘What’s in the Box’ (theme song)

Also be sure to check out our Cardboard Challenge Educator Resources on Pinterest for lots of additional resources.


How can my school participate?

Any school, organization, or individual can host and organize a Cardboard Challenge at any time. Mark your calendars for October 7, 2017 for the 2017 Global Cardboard Challenge.  Share the opportunity with your school, teacher, principal, superintendent, and/or other parents to help bring the Global Cardboard Challenge to your community.


How do I share pictures/videos and connect with other Global Cardboard Challenge participants?

Tag your photos/videos/posts with @imagination and the official #CardboardChallenge hashtag on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and G+.

Join our Cardboard Challenge for Inspired Educators Facebook Group to share ideas, tips & suggestions, photos and videos, stories and reflections with other Organizers. Got a Google+ account? Post photos/videos to our Cardboard Challenge G+ Community as you go along. We love to see works in progress and will spotlight awesome content throughout the Challenge!


Can we fundraise?

If you’d like to use your Cardboard Challenge to fundraise for the Imagination Foundation, please do! You could also fundraise for another organization of your choice. One popular method is to sell “fun passes” at your event, for community members to purchase.


Are there guidelines for promoting my Cardboard Challenge?

Just a few below. The rest is up to you!

Naming Your Event

As there may be multiple events in a city, it’s a good idea to name your Challenge something specific, e.g. [Your Organization’s] Awesome Cardboard Challenge or ‘[Your Organization’s] Cardboard Arcade Extravaganza, etc.., If you are thinking about hosting a large city-wide event, email hello@imagination.is to see if there is already an event being planned in your city.

Raising Money

Cardboard Challenges are not-for-profit. If you sell Fun Passes, tickets, etc, proceeds can be used to raise money for school programs or donated to a charity or nonprofit. Past Cardboard Challenge events have either been free or raised funds for various great causes, including local food banks, community gardens, library and school programs, childhood cancer research, gorilla habitats and the Imagination Foundation!

Promotional materials

Logos for the Global Cardboard Challenge are here: http://www.imagination.is/logos.


Please be sure to include the Imagination logo and the following language on your website/flier/poster so folks can learn more about our mission and the history of the Global Cardboard Challenge. Thank you!

“Part of the Imagination Foundation’s Global Cardboard Challenge, inspired by ‘Caine’s Arcade’. For more information, visit www.cardboardchallenge.com.“

“The Global Cardboard Challenge is an annual event presented by the Imagination Foundation that celebrates child creativity and the role communities can play in fostering it. For more information, visit www.cardboardchallenge.com.“


If we can’t host on the October date, can we still participate?

Of course! For the 2017 Global Cardboard Challenge, we’ve chosen October 7, 2017 to celebrate the anniversary of the flash mob that came out to make Caine’s day.  If you can’t do your event that Saturday, just choose a day around then that works for you and your school or organization.


What is the mission of the Imagination Foundation?

The Imagination Foundation was inspired by the global response to the ‘Caine’s Arcade‘ short film. We’re a nonprofit with a mission to find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world to raise a new generation of innovators and problem solvers who have the tools they need to build the world they imagine. Learn more about our projects here: http://www.imagination.is/our-projects.


What is the Design for Change Cardboard Challenge?

The Design for Change (DFC) Cardboard Challenge is an opportunity to approach cardboard creativity through the lens of Feel, Imagine, Do, Share (FIDS), DFC’s simplified version of the design thinking process. This approach highlights empathy (Feel) in the creative process. The DFC Cardboard Challenge incorporates certain “constraints” that are designed to ramp up a child’s feelings in the creative process, increasing their resourcefulness, patience, and reliance on each other.

Register for the DFC Cardboard Challenge on the Cardboard Challenge homepage by selecting the ‘I want to take the DFC Cardboard Challenge’ checkbox and download the DFC Cardboard Challenge Playbook for tips and ideas. Don’t forget to share with the world using the hashtags #CardboardChallenge and #DFC. Read more about Design for Change here.

Inviting The World To Play

The Global Cardboard Challenge began in 2012, following the overwhelming success of the short film, 'Caine's Arcade'. In 2017, we hope to surpass 1 million child participants!


Inspired by the short film, ‘Caine’s Arcade,’ the Global Cardboard Challenge is an annual event presented by the Imagination Foundation that celebrates child creativity and the role communities can play in fostering it. This September, kids of all ages are invited to build anything they can dream up using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination. Then on Saturday, October 7th, 2017, a day that commemorates the flash mob that made Caine's day in the short film, communities come together and play!