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Anastasis Academy: Day of Play Cardboard Challenge

Maybe you have heard of Caine’s Arcade? It is a little movement, started by an 8-year-old. This video will restore your faith in humanity and inspire you big time! It inspired us at Anastasis Academy, so much so that when the second video came out, inviting us to a Day of Play, we were all in.

On Friday, Anastasis held our own Day of Play. We collected boxes (lots and lots of boxes), tape, markers, pipe cleaners, glue, aluminum foil, rubber bands, tubes, scissors and paper. Then, we let the kids at it. There were no parameters, no specific rules or directions. The goal for our students was to dream as big as they could. It is amazing what happens when you invite kids to dream and build apart from any rules or expectations of what the end goal is. Our students (k-8) gathered in our big “all in” room and built to their heart’s content. The amazing part: no two ideas were the same. We had plink-o, a fortune-teller, a minecraft adventure, a time machine (complete with crystal), ski ball, tilt the ball, an old-school computer made of new parts, a hotdog/snow cone stand, dance dance revolution, ferris wheel, tanks, and a mechanical bull. You read correctly, a mechanical bull.

The students spent about 3 hours dreaming and building. Some had plans they created the day before, others came in with a blank slate. After all of the building (and a break for lunch) we gathered to play each others games. It was SO much fun! Students even created their own prizes that could be won (mustaches and uni-brows anyone?).

The casual observer might have watched this all go down and seen chaos or a waste of time. A closer look would have revealed the rich learning taking place. The problem solving, critical thinking, discovery, planning, rich conversations, kids working together, designing, creativity. Have you ever seen those words describe a worksheet? A lecture? This was such a RICH learning experience in so many ways. Best of all: it built and fostered a culture of working together, learning from each other and enjoying each other. That is no small feat.

I saw genius today. I am SO proud of these kids, they truly are geniuses. Two of our students (different classes and ages) built a tank together. The tank shot rubber bands and launched a “cannon” water bottle. These boys decided that the rubber band shooter and cannon should have a “safety” just in case something slipped so that they wouldn’t accidentally shoot anything. The way they worked this out was truly brilliant. The cannon water bottle was held in place by a popsicle stick safety. The rubber band shooter was attached to pipe cleaner that kept the rubber band from releasing unless the safety was off.

Our youngest kids built and manned a hotdog/snow cone stand. My favorite part of the stand was the signs that they created for it. One of the signs read “Snow cones choose a color: limeade, raspberry, blueberry, grape.” I love that it said choose a color, not choose a flavor. SO stinking cute!

A dance-loving student created the cardboard version of dance, dance revolution. She created a dance mat with different colors on it. Then, she climbed behind her box and flashed construction paper colors. When the color showed up, the player had to step on the matching color on the mat. Periodically, she would hold up signs that said things like, “you are on fire” or “fail”. Brilliant!

Check out our Day of Play below:

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