Summer Camp: Cardboard Arcade Challenge

One of the things we did at camp this summer was a cardboard arcade challenge.

Early in the week, the 9-12 yr olds watched the Caine's Arcade video. This is a great video. Out of 4 camps worth of kids, only one of them had seen it before!

We spent the next couple of days working on various projects with motors and LEDs. I encouraged the kids to work on their plans for the games. Our camp was two 1/2 day sessions. One group was 9-12 years old, the other 6-8 years old. While I spent a 1/2 day making with one group, the others were out doing recreation activities with two awesome GNAG counselors. For the cardboard arcade challenge, the idea was for the older kids, the 9-12 year olds, to make the arcade games and host an arcade for the younger kids. 

Target Hitter. A cardboard arcade game with an automatic ball return and light up targets.

I was totally and completely blown away by the complexity of the games and how much care they took setting everything up.

I was primarily focused on making the games. And the games were impressive. We had water games, pinball games, ball throws, basketball games. Even spinning games of chance! The kids worked with rubber bands and angles and levers to get the movement they wanted. Some of them started introducing the tech we were working with earlier in the week.

A photo collage of a pinball game, a spinning game of chance, a different target game, a game where a ball has to get by a spinning fan, and a water game.

The games were awesome. But so was the prize table! The kids who were done their games first made prizes to give away to the little kids. They set up a structure and some rules about prizes, and even made tickets. (The second week I brought tickets in - mistake! It's more fun to make your tickets.)

The prize table

The younger kids made games too. We watched Caine's Arcade and they spent a shorter amount of time working on their games. Some games were simple - a cup, a spoon, and a ball. Some games got really complex. Motors were very popular!

A photo collage of the 6-8 yr old arcade games. Many involving getting a ball into a cup.

What I didn't expect was how long after camp the activity would stick with them. My first hint was this tweet: 

Which was followed by: 

And then I started hearing about Will's Arcade. Will was one of the older kids in the 6-8 year old camp. He's attended a few workshops with me before and exhibited his work at the GYA Science Hack we took part in. When Will's mom started emailing me a couple of weeks ago with pictures of Will's Arcade, I wasn't that surprised.

Will standing in front of his cardboard arcade.

But the cool thing was, he kept going! Will's has now been working on his arcade since camp, six weeks. He has it open on the weekend for customers. And he's made enough money to refill his prize wall - twice!

 The only problem is - it's getting colder. And soon Will's Mom and Dad are going to need to use their garage for their car.

Awesome job, Will! 

Another shot of Will's Cardboard Arcade, looking into the garage.

The 2015 Global Cardboard Challenge is October 10. You can find out more about the challenge, the Imagination Foundation, and what's going on in Ottawa that day at their website.


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