Not a Box – with Community Connections

Sonja Marziano, Partner Servies Coordinator at Chicago Children’s Museum, reflects on the impact of Unboxed: Adventures in Cardboard on some of our community partners.

At Chicago Children’s Museum, the creativity and imagination of our visitors inspires us every day. Recently, a lot of this inspiration has come from creations made in our Unboxed: Adventures in Cardboard exhibit, which got us thinking. Why not invite a few of our partners to create something amazing of their own? Through the “Not a Box” project, we sent 10 schools and community organizations a plain cardboard box and a list of 30 Ways to Use a Cardboard Box. The rest was up to them, and as usual, the results exceeded our expectations.

Check out a sampling of our partners’ creations…

Howard Area Community Center Cardboard CCM
While Unboxed recreated our exhibit space inside with an enormous cardboard mural and a nine-foot-tall Box Giant, Howard Area Community Center thought about how a cardboard version of CCM would look from the outside. As one of CCM’s longtime partners, families of Howard Area Community Center have been visiting for years, taking advantage of subsidized transportation and field trips, and visiting with discounted family memberships. For their cardboard challenge, Howard Area Community Center created a cardboard replica of visit to CCM—bus ride and everything! Shannon Callahan, Director of Education and Employment, describes the project her families created, “It is Howard Area Community Center on one side, a bus taking the children to CCM, and then the CCM on the other side. Our program had a great time putting it together using various boxes. Thank you for the great idea for a project.”

Cardboard BusHoward Area Community Center operates five programs to assist low-income individuals of all ages and their families in and near Rogers Park. For more information visit their website.

Better Boys Foundation
The Kid-Labbers, students in a year-round, out-of-school time program, operated by Better Boys Foundation, tackled the “Not a Box” challenge by creating an entire city out of boxes. Not only did their city model have all the essentials—skyscrapers, houses, factories, roads, and trees—this cityscape provided the perfect platform for the Kid-Labbers to play! How fun is that? Brian Slusser, KidLAB Program Lead, tells us how the Kid-Labbers worked together to first brainstorm and then create, “The students thenCardboard City collaborated and discussed what type of structures their city would need, and did some trial runs of designing the various buildings on paper. Next the students re-purposed their cardboard snack containers and other boxes to tape their final project drawings upon…Finally the students set their city up, displayed it, and PLAYED!”

KidLAB provides academic support, mentoring, and recreational and cultural activities for children ages five to 12. The Better Boys Foundation operates KidLAB and other programs that provide youth and their families in North Lawndale experiences that enhance emotional, social, academic, and career development. Learn more about Better Boys Foundation by visiting their website.


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