Fun in a box at Chicago Children’s Museum

If you’ve ever given your child a gift – only to discover that the cardboard box it arrived in demanded more of their attention than the actual present – then you’ll understand the allure behind the new exhibit, Unboxed: Adventures in Cardboard at the Chicago Children’s Museum.

It’s a back-to-basics exhibit that’s so creative it’s genius.

The room is filled with cardboard boxes. There are cardboard boxes that have been created as forts, others that have been turned into mazes and others that were cut into pieces so the kids could make artwork out of them.

And apparently, cardboard boxes demand the attention of even the tiniest guests, who were examining themselves in mirrors glued onto boxes – and the big kids, who were running through the mazes and climbing into the boxes.

The whole point is that children should – and will – do whatever they want with the cardboard, whether it’s using it to inspire their own art or to inspire them to jump on it, climb on it or tear it apart.

Unboxed is even cooler because the staff expects each child to make their own mark on the exhibit, whether it’s by moving the boxes to another area of the room or by coloring on the cardboard artwork decorating the walls.

Just in case you think you should skip the exhibit and let your kids simply play with shipping boxes at home, think again. On select weekends, artists will be on hand to help your kids make their own art out of the cardboard, and a craft area is staffed by museum personnel to make sure your child is making the most out of his cardboard artwork experience.

There’s also a 43-foot cardboard mural decorating the wall outside the exhibit made from scratch by Chicago artist Megan Hovany – this mural alone is worth the trip to the museum. It took Hovany about three months to create it, and you can watch her do it in fast-forward mode in a video showing inside the exhibit.

It’s time to think out of the box.

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