What can America do with its mountains of recycled cardboard? Make educational toys, that’s what!
Last week, in Burlington, Vermont, I stumbled on an excellent idea: build-it-yourself cardboard pinball machines for kids. Kids love building stuff with cardboard, so two Vermont entrepreneurs decided to give them a kit to build something really cool and functional, that also turns out to be a great educational experience.
The product is PinBox 3000 – basically a box with precut cardboard pieces, some rubber bands, and a few marbles. These pieces quickly assemble into a fully functional tabletop pinball machine, with a blank play surface ready to be designed and customized however you want.
This is where the fun starts, whether you take it in more of a STEM direction (designing obstacles and angled pathways for the balls) or an art direction (graphics, lettering, etc), or both.
I think PinBox 3000 is a wonderful idea, though we’ll see if they can make a sustainable business charging $50 per kit (seems high for a pack of cardboard). The company, called ‘Cardboard Teck Instantute,’ was originally funded by a Kickstarter campaign and now does most of its distribution through schools, classrooms, and STEM resource publications (they even offer an ‘educator pack’).
My niece and nephew were totally fired up to get a PinBox 3000 and try designing some games. We’ll see what they can make of it… I can’t wait.
Below are some of the creative designs the company has on display at their HQ in Burlington: