cardboard box CELEBRATION. . .sculpted shadows

part one:  three cheers

I have something wonderful to share with you today.  Tinkerlab is 1!  If you’ve been here before I’m sure you know exactly who I’m talking about but if you don’t, you can hop over to my facebook or twitter pages.  I’ve dedicated this week to my favorite Tinkerlab projects, you’ll find what I consider the best of the best!

For her blogiversary she has invited 20 bloggers to join her celebration.  And yes I am on that list.  Am I too old to being doing cartwheels around the yard?  I can’t tell you how honored I am, the list of bloggers includes impressive, inspiring and incredible women.

The challenge Tinkerlab handed us was to do something with a CARDBOARD BOX.  The rules are simple. . .involve the kids, and get creative.


Have I grabbed a hold of your attention?  Do you have any cardboard boxes lying around?  You are definitely going to want one after this!

part two:  sculpted shadows

what you need: cardboard boxes (different sizes) ~ chalk ~ sunlight

When I learned of the challenge I quickly went to the library and found the perfect book.   After a few good reads I brought out the box.

My little collector quickly claimed it.

Luckily Grandma was able to supply us with more!  The shadows from the boxes I was picturing, along with an idea posted by Tinkerlab inspired this activity!

I asked Little M to arrange the boxes.  While she worked I noted the shadows the boxes created.  She worked hard to arrange them.

Stood back to examine her work.

Added to her sculpture.

Then in true Little M fashion. . .became one with her masterpiece.

When Little M was satisfied with her creation, I outlined the shadow with chalk.  We moved the boxes and admired the markings.  Little M rearranged the boxes and I traced the shadow again with a different color chalk.

Of course Little M ended up in a box for the last drawing.  There is no way you can have an empty box and not get in it!

It ended up being a really fun and simple activity with a neat end result.  I can’t wait to try it again with Big M, do you think he’ll figure out how to add wheels?

Questions (to ask your kids): “Why do you think the shadow appears in this shape?”  “What will happen if you tilt the box like this?”

Tips (to maximize learning):  1.  Come back out and do the activity at a different time of day.  Talk about where the shadows are and why.  2.  Encourage your kids to find other objects to sculpt with!  3.  Once the drawing is done, see if your little one is interested in putting the boxes back the way they were.  Matching the shadows should be challenging. . . and fun!

part three:  explore

Follow the links below and make sure to explore these INCREDIBLE sites while you’re there.  If you find something really great (which I’m sure you will) come back and tell me about it.

This post is a part of the Creative Challenge Series.

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*Click on the Click here even though its crossed out. 😉  That will take you to the list of participants!*


  1. Love the pics and so lucky to have all those boxes to build with! I could see just stacking up a bunch of boxes into a huge scuplture!!! I need to go and get a bunch of boxes and I’m sure it will inspire hours and days of creative fun with my daughter! No need for expensive toys—my daughter will always love something like this more than a plastic toy!!!

    1. I have almost a weeks worth of posts from that day in the drive way. Big M even made a race track with them at one point. I can’t wait to see what happens when we bring them inside!

    1. I do too! With Little M it wouldn’t work any other way (luckily her and I are on the same page), she has a way of changing every activity into an open ended one!

  2. Ha! The way little M claimed your box is so familiar to me — N is a collector too! Thanks for all the kind words about TinkerLab — I also think you’re awesome 🙂 Your pile of boxes is impressive (what a nice grandma little M has!), and I love how you girls interpreted them in this open-ended fashion. What a fun day. Thanks for being part of the cardboard box challenge. It’s been so fun!

  3. Jill,
    So much open-ended pure fun your lovely daughter is having with the box train!
    I know I have to start collecting boxes all over again. I had been hoarding them over the years for Pari to do such playful things but during our recent house shift, I gave them away. I am ever so happy to be part of this challenge as I’m getting to learn so much and meet so many of you creative and like-minded moms. Happy mother’s day 🙂

    1. Our boxes have been getting so much use over the last couple of days. I almost wish I was small enough to climb in!

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