MakeDo Cardboard Igloos

On Saturday we were excited to host another Cardboard Play Day at the American School in Japan with an enthusiastic group of young builders.

Kids living in dense urban areas like Tokyo usually don’t have a backyard or nearby place where they can muck around.

Providing the space and materials for cardboard tinkering is akin to tree house building for city kids (as well as a beefy upgrade from blanket and sofa cushion forts.)

We had the most gorgeous day of pre-winter weather that you could hope for and a great turn out of kids and parents.

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I really enjoyed working side by side with the kids this time, holding pieces of cardboard together for them and taking their direction as they figured out how to attach shelving, install “TVs” and keep intruders out of their igloos.


The kids faced the perils of dome collapse and near exhaustion from sawing cardboard doors and windows all day, but we still we had to kick them out by 2:00 so we could cleanup and go home…

Looking forward to putting on another cardboard play day again really soon!

9 thoughts on “MakeDo Cardboard Igloos

  1. I love your play days. My boys have found memories of cardboard boxes that allowed their imaginations to run wild. Boxes were my best friends and saved tons of money over store bought toys. My grand children now enjoy boxes the same way.

    • It’s all true Lois! You could write my manifesto! What is there not to love about free, recycled, recyclable, and creativity building?

      Thanks for your ever thoughtful comments, and continuing to cheer me on. The blog is still young and it means a lot to hear from someone who feels the same way I do about play, the environment, and living within one’s means.

    • Kids age 6-11 are able to design and build things on their own from my observations…..

      What I love most about MakeDo is that it really encourages design thinking and quickly creates a social environment for kids to deliberate and collaborate around a building project. I see it as being more interactive than blocks because kids are actually transforming the materials that they work with. My take on MakeDo is this: better than blocks and Legos, but not quite as good as a hammer and a scrap wood pile.

      The only thing I wish they could improve about the MakeDo is that it’s not yet truly recyclable. The nylon it’s made out of is down-cycled during the recycling process, and I am not an advocate for disposable plastic. at all. But… I really love this toy and I want to be part of a world where we make the things that we love in a sustainable way, so my New Year’s Resolution is to write the creator of MakeDo and convince him to make MakeDo truly recyclable. I hope we soon have a cradle to cradle MakeDo toy that we can officially crown as one of the greatest toys ever.

  2. Pingback: Eskimo & Igloos Crafts, Activities, & Ideas for Kids

  3. I wanted to know what you would need to make a small cardboard igloo but it does not say what you would need and how you make it. It just has pictures!

    • This was a play-based exploration for kids, not a step by step making activity, so unfortunately there are no instructions. Kids tried different ways to make the igloo shape just by tinkering around.

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