From cardboard to playground

The In and Out of the Box exhibition inspired children to use their creativity and explore new materials

What once were cardboard boxes containing assemble-yourself furniture, a mass supply of baby wipes and Christmas gifts from Amazon were transformed into tunnels, a sled, a tickets booth, a tent and a slide. Dozens of children explored these new cardboard creations Oct. 20 at the Child and Family Research Center's exhibition of the In and Out of the Box project at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The children playing didn't just show up to romp around the repurposed playground, they designed it.

Leah Sanders, mentor and coach for the Child and Family Research Center, said that the project allows the children to exercise their creativity.
"The kids make their own world using this repurposed material and it has expanded their imaginations," she said. "They have been exploring the materials while experimenting with different kinds of play."

Jenna Jakeway, a co-teacher in the two-year classroom said that the children did a lot of pretend play with the boxes in the classroom before the final products were displayed at the exhibition.

"They made an ice cream shop and then they turned them into cars," she said. "They really got to exercise their creativity and got to explore different mediums."

The College of Education's Child and Family Research Center provides early childhood care for children of University students, faculty and staff, and families who meet the annual federal poverty guidelines for the Early Head Start Program. The center uses a developmental approach in its eight classrooms on campus to include stimulating experiences that fit naturally into a child's routine.

The center used the In and Out of the Box project as another way to implement STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning in the classrooms. The purpose of the project was to inspire the children to imagine, build, play and share.

To learn more about the Child and Family Research Center visit https://www.unr.edu/education/centers/cfrc or if you want to view a video from the 2014 In and Out of the Box exhibition, visit https://youtu.be/ikGRo1XRydk.

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