By Brittany Lieberman / Co-News Editor

Laughter and toothy smiles filled the playground as numerous robots battled and airplanes whizzed by. Donated cardboard boxes were put in the tiny hands of toddlers who created robots, spaceships, airplanes and more, when the PCC’s Child Development Center participated in the global cardboard challenge Friday, Oct. 4. Toddlers were encouraged to imagine, plan and build objects using recycled cardboard boxes, tape, string and their colorful imaginations. Stacey Smith-Clark, Child Development Center manager, said the event is driven by the children’s ideas while volunteers, students, employees and parents advise and supervise.

“Some people might think it’s just a bunch of boxes, but the kids are actually planning things out and building what they plan. We believe children learn best through play,” Smith-Clark said. The cardboard creations came to life in the center’s fully equipped play yard with more than 30 children engaged in various stages of build and play. Four-year-old Ari said, “We’re gonna build 100 robots!” Murphy, also 4, exclaimed, “I’m building a fire cannon to shoot the bad robots!”

Student volunteer Gabriela Ruiz, 18, a medical billing major, said, “It’s great. He’s an airplane and she’s a spaceship. They’re using their imaginations to be anything they want.”

Diana Ramos, 21, a child development major at Golden West College and part-time staff at the center, said, “Sometimes parents say ‘don’t play with that,’ but we’re saying go ahead and play, build anything you want.” The LAC and PCC centers have office and play hours from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Priority registration goes to LBCC students who attend classes on either campus, followed by LBCC faculty, staff and the public.

A $30 registration fee and $15 activity fee are charged during Fall and Spring semesters.