With cardboard, scissors, and art supplies, our families can create DIY construction sets with interlocking slots.

We all have a steady supply of cardboard these days,  so I started playing with the idea of making multiple pieces from cardboard.  I traced and cut out cardboard circles, then tested out ways to connect the pieces.  I cut four slits in each circle, which didn’t work, so that led me to cutting small wedges in each slit…slotted construction.


San Francisco’s Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio has been my inspiration.

The Tinkering Studio

Experiments with science, art,
technology, and delightful ideas.

The Tinkering Studio is a celebration of what it means to tinker… to take things apart, explore tools and materials, and build wondrous, wild art that’s part science and part technology.  🙂


This has become a personal favorite.
Create a Construction Set with Interlocking Slots

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

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 your pieces have?

? Will you distribute them at regular angles or randomly?


Invent Creative Connections…

Once you’ve created a set of base components to use for building, go a step further. Invent a new connection method, like using bendy straws to make flexible joints.  We have become fond of pipe cleaners.  🙂

MATERIALS – cardboard boxes, thin cardboard (like pasta packaging or cereal boxes) and paper tubes.  My new favorite tool for cutting cardboard are corrugated cardboard scissors.   I’ve made lots and lots of slotted circles and squares, which our 3 1/2 year old granddaughter loves!


The Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio

How to build your own cardboard construction without any connectors, the slotted construction fits for connections between all different kinds of cardboard pieces without the use of tape, glue, or other adhesive materials.





Activities 🙂

Lay the interlocking slots out and let your kids build!

Here is a list of challenges to get kids started…

1.  Build the tallest structure possible using 10 slots.

2.  Build the longest construction possible using 15 shapes.

3.  Build one that looks like an animal.

4.  Build a structure that looks like a tree.

5.  Work together to build a constructive structure with all the pieces.

6.  Build a structure where every piece connects to at least two other shapes.