Cardboard is an amazing material that offers many possibilities to develop creativity, and to experiment with mixed media techniques.

In this Play Invitation, children can work on their mathematical skills and imagination while exploring concepts such as superposition, composition, and shape.

What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation

  • Children have been curious about cutting and gluing shapes;
  • Children are excited about making compositions with things, organizing toys, and making puzzles;
  • Children have been exploring and giving sense to shapes, as in: “This is the shape of the moon.”

Materials Needed

  • Tempera paints
  • Cardboard pieces
  • Cardboard base
  • Glue
  • Brushes

Setting up This Play Invitation

  1. Depending on the age of your children, pre-cut an assortment of cardboard shapes or offer scissors and cardboard for children to cut them.
  2. Place the cardboard pieces in a container.
  3. Prepare paper-sized (letter or A4) cardboard bases.
  4. Set up a table with the container of cardboard pieces, the cardboard bases, and the glue within the children’s reach.

How to Create the Sculpture

1. Invite the children to create their own designs by gluing down the shapes on cardboard bases. Let dry.

Child cutting and gluing carboard pieces to bigger piece of cardboard

2. Later, or on the following day, offer the paint and brushes, and let the children paint their cardboard designs.

Cardboard pieces painted and glued down

How to Nurture the Natural Unfolding of the Child’s Identity During This Play Invitation

  • Children have the right to play with abstract compositions. Not every work that a child creates has to accomplish something real or concrete. It’s important that the adult’s questions are open-ended and don’t force an interpretation like, “This is…”
  • Children have the right to make comparisons, and to have their opinions about their work and the work of their peers. But adults shouldn’t use children’s works to compare and evaluate performance. Instead, we can facilitate a dialogue that reinforces the importance and beauty of the differences we see around us.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • MATH: Growing awareness of pattern and structure, visual and tactile understanding of form, categorization, and classification.
  • LANGUAGE: New vocabulary, using language to share ideas.
  • PHYSICAL: Building of fine motor skills and visual-spatial relationships.
  • ART: Expressing of ideas through compositions – exploring lines and shapes.


  • Use the same technique (of glued cardboard pieces on a base) to create stamps. Have fun making patterns!

Book Recommendation

A fun book where mistakes are transformed creatively.