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A Cardboard Camp? Yes, Please!
  • We all know the many benefits of outdoor play and playing pretend in children’s development.

    Several studies prove that outdoor play encourages brain development, improves social skills, and encourages physical fitness. Aside from that, it helps reduce a child’s risk for developing nearsightedness and promotes creativity and resilience, according to developmental psychologist Mariana Brussoni.

    Pretend play, on the other hand, has its own positive effects on a child. For Susan Linn, in her book, The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World, make-believe is “crucial to the development of creativity, empathy, learning, and problem-solving, but it's being squeezed out of the lives of many children.”

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    Combine the two and you get a whole new world to introduce to kids, a world where they never get tired of playing and where there's no shortage of fun, either.

    Remember how kids prefer boxes instead of the toys that are actually in the box? This is the idea behind this cardboard camp, which is gaining popularity so quickly, even adults want in on the fun.

    Adventures in Cardboard is a Minnesota-based camp that lets kids have a lot of fun through outdoor arts and play using the most basic and cheap plaything you can imagine: cardboard. Created by artist and teacher Julian McFaul, the camp’s activities revolve around kids using their imagination and creativity to create their own play spaces using cardboard boxes and nature.

    When kids have the opportunity to go outdoors and be creative, it certainly beats any smartphone app, video game, or TV show. There are numerous activities lined up at camp: there are Trial & Field Games, where kids can run around playing games in an open field or wooden trail, swimming (it’s a summer camp, after all), creating your own row boats and monsters, role-playing, and more. The camp also sets up activities tailored for birthday parties. See what else is in store for kids at camp -- and how much fun they're having!


    This activity is called Giant Castle, where children can design and build an actual castle or fortified village and defend it:

    Cardboard camp castle

    This one is called Arms & Armor, where kids can design their own suit of armor:

    Cardboard camp armor

    Cardboard camp armor2

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    The kids also get to designing and making their own faerie houses:

    Cardboard camp prairie

    And conceptualize and build their own maze:

    Cardboard camp maze
    Photos from Adventure in Cardboard website and Facebook page.

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    "From the work of Richard Louv and others describing 'nature deficit disorder,' we know children are smarter, healthier, and happier when they have time for semi-structured play in natural places," McFaul said in an interview with Upworthy. Adventures in Cardboard have an amazing track record, inspiring children for years with little more than their combined imagination, a thicket of trees, and a bit of cardboard.


    Genius and awesome, right? What do you think?

    For more information, visit the Adventure in Cardboard website, or their Facebook page.


    October 24, 2015. “This camp lets kids show off their imagination and battle skills. Cardboard required.” (upworthy.com)

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