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Kentville Plays with cardboard boxes over March Break

Amelia Albert, 5, Romey Gallagher, 7 and Zephyr Gallagher, 4, carry a house they've constructed out of cardboard above their heads and laugh as they participate in the Kentville Plays event.
Amelia Albert, 5, Romey Gallagher, 7 and Zephyr Gallagher, 4, carry a house they've constructed out of cardboard above their heads and laugh as they participate in the Kentville Plays event. - Sara Ericsson

Boxes something every kid can get creative with: Stephenson

KENTVILLE – Playing and creating with cardboard boxes is an activity that has long captivated kids, and today was no different at the Cardboard Box Extravaganza event in Kentville.

The event was held as part of the town’s Kentville Plays initiative, orgazined by the Parks and Recreation department.

It featured cardboard boxes donated by community businesses, and several kids on March Break eager to let of steam and get to work imagining different shapes, machines and other designs for the boxes.

The kids were all smiles as they played and created with the cardboard.
The kids were all smiles as they played and created with the cardboard.

“The kids were fairly shy at first, but seeing them open up and jump into the boxes just goes to show that if you let them, they are so creative when they let their minds go,” said Community Coordinator Julia Stephenson.

Free play and teamwork

Amelia Albert, 5, Romey Gallagher, 7 and Zephyr Gallagher, 4, played at the event together, and built an entire house out of various pieces of cardboard, complete with a kitchen and shelves.

Zephyr designed a little cardboard man, to fit inside a smaller house.

Their parents looked on as the kids lifted one cardboard house over their heads, transporting it to a different part of the cardboard fun area, next to another house they’d been working on.

“We took this house and are going to do something with this too, because no one is using it,” said Romey.

The kids all played together, independently from parents. "The goal is to not be a helicopter parent - let your kid play and have fun on their own," said Acadia student and event volunteer Joel D'Entremont, who was joined by fellow Acadia student Josh Palmer.
The kids all played together, independently from parents. "The goal is to not be a helicopter parent - let your kid play and have fun on their own," said Acadia student and event volunteer Joel D'Entremont, who was joined by fellow Acadia student Josh Palmer.

Parent Erica Desousa said her kids were very excited about the event, since the big open space inside Kentville’s Recreation Centre meant more opportunities to build big cardboard structures.

“The huge space creates more ideas and opportunities. My kids were even planning what they would build on the way over here,” laughed Desousa.

Childhood memories of playing with boxes

As an event under the Kentville Plays umbrella, the event focused on free play, meaning unrestrictive fun kids can interpret any way they want.

Rachel Bedingfield, the division’s director, came up with the cardboard box theme, after remembering her own fun times as a child playing with big brown boxes, according to Stephenson.

“I think we all have those memories as a kid of someone buying a large appliance in a massive box and hoping you’d get to play with it afterwards,” she said.

The kids lift their house to another part of the cardboard box extravaganza, to continue their renovations.
The kids lift their house to another part of the cardboard box extravaganza, to continue their renovations.

The event was the second for Kentville Plays, which has set a monthly challenge to continue free-play inspired events as the year continues.

“The kids have been loving these events, and they’ve really served to bring the community together. They’re simple, low-cost and emphasize that it doesn’t have to be complicated,” said Stephenson.

“Free-play is simple – you’re fostering ideas and letting the kids play how they want.”  

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