The Kid Should See This

Create a construction set with interlocking slots, a Tinkering Studio DIY project

With cardboard, scissors, and art supplies, kids and adults can create a DIY construction set with interlocking slots. This cardboard craft project video by the Exploratorium‘s Tinkering Studio demonstrates one way to design a collection of pieces that can be put together again and again in different ways. More from their site:

Slotted construction allows for connections between all different kinds of cardboard component parts without glue, tape, or other connector materials… Every learner’s construction set will look different as they engage with different materials, invent their own components and connectors, and follow their own ideas…

decorating the pieces

Experiment with the size, shape, and placement of slots. For some materials, making a thin triangular cut works well. For others, cutting a rectangular slot by making two cuts next to each other creates a wider but still snug slot. How many slots will each piece have? Will you distribute them at regular angles or randomly?

use any shapes
Design with any sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns that you’d like. Use markers, crayons, acrylic paint, or whatever you have available. Or create your own with illustrations or photos. This project can make use of any materials from your house or recycling bin, including images from magazines.

Slotted construction set
You can expand the project by decorating your pieces with eyes and feet, working with translucent materials, and more. The Tinkering Studio shares lots of ideas for going deeper, and it’s just one of their Creative Constructions projects.

putting the pieces together
Related exploration: In 1952, designers Charles and Ray Eames created a deck of patterned cards, each with six long, narrow slots that made it easy to create interlocking structures. They called it The House of Cards. Their second version, a giant set, used images.

Watch some of the Eames’ work on TKSST.

Then watch and build more cardboard projects, including:
• How to make DIY ramp walker physics toys
• How to weave yarn on a mini cardboard loom
• How to make a giant ‘robotic’ cardboard hand
• How to make a cotton ball launcher
• Don’t put any coins in this cardboard coin box

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