About the Mystery Box Challenge

The Mystery Box Challenge is a way for kids to become inventors through designing, engineering,  innovating, and prototyping.  

Visitors are given an age-appropriate challenge and a box of completely random recycled materials, and are asked to solve their challenge using only the materials given, along with tape, scissors, and their imagination. 

What unfolds is magical. Kids take scraps of materials and turn them into playgrounds for elephants, birdhouses for the future, ways to locate and save friends from wormholes, and so much more.

Read the Mystery Box Challenge: LEGO Small Museum Network Evaluation Summary Report.

Current Partners

YMCA of San Francisco 

Galing Bata

Children’s Museum of Sonoma County

Sacramento Children’s Museum


Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery

Monterey Youth Museum

California College of the Arts



The Children’s Creativity Museum has had the opportunity to work with the LEGO Playful Learning Museum Network, a network of children’s museums and science centers across the U.S. to learn about LEGO’s own education philosophy of “Learning Through Play” while teaming up with other museums to create rich playful learning experiences across the country.

The goal of the Children’s Creativity Museum is to develop creative confidence in kids, which we define as “Having the freedom and courage to fail and take creative risks, and knowing that all of the ideas you create have value.”

In order to build creative confidence, all of our programs, including the Mystery Box Challenge, are built upon a process of “Imagine, Create, Share”. We invite kids to observe and explore each exhibit before jumping in, giving them an opportunity to either dive in on their own or use one of the provided “imagination starters”.

We then encourage them to sink into the exhibit, providing frameworks for their creations, but not instructions, allowing them to fail, innovate, and express themselves.

When they’re finished, we invite visitors to share their creations, either with a facilitator, who asks questions to dive deeper into their process, or with themselves either by sending a song or movie via email, or bringing an invention home to share with family.

The “Imagine, Create, Share” cycle not only allows for visitors to build creative confidence, but it also serves as a guide for the Children’s Creativity Museum when designing experiences for guests, ensuring that our exhibits grow with the child, feel exciting, and allow visitors to lose time in the creation process.

The “Imagine, Create, Share” cycle from the Children’s Creativity Museum pairs perfectly with LEGO’s “Learn Through Play” philosophy, which encourages experiences to be “iterative, meaningful, joyful, socially interactive, and actively engaging” in order to create curious lifelong learners.

Bring the Mystery Box to Your Museum

The Children’s Creativity Museum has paired with the LEGO Playful Learning Network to create a smaller network of museums in the San Francisco Bay Area to prototype a shippable Mystery Box Challenge experience that maintains and shares the integrity of our educational philosophies while being adaptable to various museum settings. 

In every new venue tested, the Mystery Box Challenge is an instant hit. Kids everywhere are eager to step into the roll of inventor and share their ideas with those around them. 

Through the testing process, we’ve discovered how the Mystery Box Challenge can fit into any museum setting. From community spaces, to smaller makerspaces, and even pop-up exhibits, the Mystery Box Challenge is an adaptable, magnetic experience. 

To learn more, email kelsey at creativity dot com.