AiC New Logo 2018
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"Oh mighty School! Rooted deep in the hearts of children across the realm, we come galloping triumphant from our summer campaigns and set our pavilions before your ramparts. Our trumpets, our drums beckon! Lower your bridges! Open your gates! Come down and welcome us in!"  -The Colossus of Kru'ugdaz Shehel


Adventures in Cardboard believes that blending competitive play with cooperative, theatrical improvisation not only creates incredible storytelling, but is also among the most successful forms of emotional and creative education. It’s the kind of growth kids crave.

Whether you’re looking for professional arts education or joyful exhilaration to pass the time, Adventures in Cardboard is here to provide. We’ve found something special in the way we combine play, storytelling, and devotion to craft and we want to bring that to your school.

Whether you want to provide a weekly after-school program for a small handful of kids or you want to create a single massive event for your entire school, we do it all. Below are a few templates to choose from or to inspire ideas of your own.


Residency Programs

We partner with educators to help students create and play in an immersive mythology. Our artist-educators help each kid find their way into communal storytelling with Crafting, Games, and Theatre.

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Stand Alone Events

From small-scale Visits to school-wide Game Days, Standalone Events with Adventures in Cardboard is your place for a one-and-done super cool take home project or an epic event the whole school will talk about for years to come.

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Limitless Worlds

Professional artists from AiC will visit for a day to help your students craft props and costumes, create and role play new mythologies, or facilitate bouts of creative play both theatrical and competitive!

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Why tell fantasy stories?

Fantasy evokes a powerful kind of play where kids yearn to create and act out stories with high stakes. In a fantasy milieu kids are often willing to try things with surprising courage. Thrust into a scenario with imaginary consequences, Adventures in Cardboard  provides a safe place where kids are encouraged to try, to explore, to communicate, to fail with full hearts.

We weave stories into our gameplay where characters have built-in strengths and flaws. Kids can decide to be heroes or villains, obsessive or skeptical, absurd or poetic, all larger-than-life and in ways that lead to a greater capacity for critical thinking within cause and effect scenarios.

Kids improvise how a story plays out with our guidance earning the consent of other storytellers and creating a greater capacity for communication and empathy. A child who builds the most fantastic armor can become an icon in the game’s story and inspire imagination and passionate play.  Kids who are devoted to competitive physical play find it easier to “win” if they pay attention to the story and can convince others to follow their plan... or recognize the value of someone else’s charisma and consent to following them. Each participant finds their way into the story through Gameplay, Roleplay, or Crafting, which feeds a respect for a variety of talents and a stronger sense of community. The results are often miraculous.

Why play Gotcha Games?

A "Gotcha Game" is how Adventures in Cardboard refers to rough and tumble, safe gameplay with an imaginary scenario that increases the stakes of being caught by surprise or temporarily tagged-out.

Most tag games are "Gotcha Games" by this definition. When AiC adds instinctual guidelines for safe sword tag and a cardboard tagger, these are simply tools that enhance the imaginary stakes of our games and tie them to a greater group story. 

To be played well "Gotcha Games" require an experienced understanding of consent, empathy and the kind of mutual joy that rises when players enjoy their best efforts to best each other.

All "Gotcha Games" demand a high degree of presence in body, mind and spirit to be played well. This presence can be learned, often with the biggest barrier to engagement being a child's own fear. With inspiring, caring, understanding mentors this is a kind of play that most children can learn if it does not already naturally come to them.

Our "Gotcha Games" are highly imaginative and exhilarating, and yet these are competitive games that allow sporting competition to take place with the ability to immediately reset the contest and try again. The possibility of extricating oneself from the game, at will, is built in. In well-played "Gotcha Games" failure may be dramatic but quickly leads to a spirit of limitless attempts at success and each child can ramp-in their desired level of competitiveness.

"Gotcha Games" are sporting games that sometimes feel more accessible for kids who are are not drawn to the extended periods of team commitment, public performance or the rigid structure of organized sports. "Gotcha Games" can be indispensable tools for the socio-physical development of kids who find organized sports less accessible. These games also serve as great tools for emotional development and can help a child build a mature sense of sports-personship at a pace that feels safe to the child. 

Nonetheless, at AiC we will often increase the level of competition, risk and reward with a mature group of players. Our Tactical Weeks involve older, more experienced kids and can see quite competitive and deliciously fierce levels of gameplay that help us all build resilience, tenacity and character as well as any organized sport.

A mother's Testimony of "Cops n Robbers" from John Holt's Teach Your Own