Friday, May 6, 2011

Cardboard Box Challenge-Building a Carousal

I was extremely excited to receive an email from Rachelle over at TinkerLab inviting me to join her cardboard box challenge.*  She is known for hosting fantastic creative challenges involving everyday items or unexpected materials.  For this particular project, Rachelle requested we simply create something, anything, from at least one cardboard box.

What were the kids and I going to make?  Lucky for me, my 8 year old came home last Friday and declared she wanted to make a carousal from a box to take to school the following Monday.  Ariel explained they were reading a book at school called Carousel and she asked if the class could create a carousel.  Her teacher told her it would be too difficult; Ariel took that as a challenge...

 First we cut the flaps off the box.
 And cut the flaps into strips.  These will be the poles for the animals.
 Then I cut an oval from a large piece of art paper.  The slit will help it become a cone.
 Next Ariel and her friend painted the box.
 The mini roller I received in a sample set from Valspar paint has come in handy for the 2nd time!
 Ariel decided each side should be a different color.  Each animal pole was also painted a different color.
 She paints the top yellow while it is still flat.
My husband helped with the engineering of the poles.  He mapped out their location and cut slits in the top of the box.  Then he trimmed the poles slightly so they would rest in the slits.    
 Now the poles can hold the top without toppling over!
 Ariel printed several animal coloring sheets from the web and colored them.  She drew her own panda (her favorite animal) and bunny.  She placed each animal in a different position on the poles to give the illusion of movement.    
 She used tape to attach each animal to the pole.  I recommend using glue.  While at school the next day, her elephant flew off into the wind, just like Dumbo!
 Once the animals were on the poles, Ariel decided something was missing...a center to the carousel just like the real ones have.  We took another flap from the box and folded it into an odd, circular shape.  Then she cut "mirrors" from foil to glue on the center piece.  
 She drew decorations around the mirrors.  Then she glued the center piece to the box.  She chose glue sticks, I recommend white glue or hot glue.  
         Ariel and her completed project!  

This project was a child led creation; Ariel's concept.  She directed her friends in the painting, planned which animals to include, and had the basic idea for construction.

My 3 year old, on the other hand, was extremely upset that we had taken his boat away.


*As a new blogger, it's been such an honor to be embraced by the community of playtime loving bloggers.  I am extremely grateful for the knowledge and experience we share amongst each other, as well as the fun activities and challenges.

David Shannon is one of my favorite authors, mainly because my son Michael, is so much like his character "David".  The cardboard box challenge reminded me of Too Many Toys, in which a young boy, Spencer, haggles with his mother over the fate of his beloved toys.  In the end, it's the box, which housed all the ill-fated toys, that Spencer refuses to part with. 


  1. Awesome idea! It amazes me how may great ideas there are and how different each one is! A lot of people will have a long list of "Do Somethings" for this week!!!

  2. She's very creative! (and beautiful) I love that she took it as a challenge and figured out so many of the details herself. Brilliant result too.

  3. What an excellent execution of an idea!! Great job!

  4. I was hooked all the way to the end, and literally laughed out loud when I got the part about your son! You're a great storyteller, Rachele! Good for your daughter for taking on the challenge -- she sounds like an awesome kid! And thank YOU for collaborating with me :)

  5. What a creative, artistic and original idea and brilliant execution! I am amazed to see so much creativity flowing from the cardboard box challenge!

  6. I think it's great that she had the idea, figured it out, and executed it! Good for her!

    (Pfft to that teacher who said it would be too hard. What kind of lesson is that?!)

  7. Hooray for Ariel! The teacher should let her hold her own carousal making tutorial.

  8. What can I say... but your carousel is AWESOME!!! What a clever and fun project! It is simple brilliant!

    Would LOVE for you to come and link up to Kids Get Crafty - every Wednesday with and for children - Old posts welcome!

    Hope to see you there!


  9. What a nifty idea, and it looks like a lot of fun putting it together.



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