Bonnie Holycross' childhood memories rushed back to her Oct. 7 during the Cardboard Challenge at Heritage Middle School in Hilliard.

As students used cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes to create whatever their imaginations could manufacture, the 23-year Hilliard educator recalled the countless hours she and her two siblings spent transforming such boxes into whatever they could imagine.

"My father owned an appliance store in Troy for 45 years and we looked forward each time when refrigerators were delivered to the store," Holycross said. "We told him don't break any of the boxes down -- we wanted the box whole. We made it into a house or a spaceship, whatever we could think of."

Other times, she said, they would roll down hills inside the boxes.

"Now, the district has an event to encourage the same family bonding and to grow our student's imaginations," Holycross said.

This is the third year for the Cardboard Challenge at Hilliard City Schools.

"It's about having our students use their creativity as much as it about family time," said Horizon Elementary School principal Hilary Sloat. "Instead of using cellphones, parents and their kids are talking about how to build their idea."

Ella Lyons, 7, a second-grader at Darby Creek Elementary School, was one of the students participating.

"She really wanted to come this because she likes art so much," said her mother, Evette Cano.

Ella said her favorite artistic activity is painting with water colors but at the Cardboard Challenge she made a lizard.

Meanwhile, with the assistance of his mother, Ashley Rieder, 3-year-old Caleb Rieder made a police car.

After the doors and roof were complete, Caleb resolved to put three pedals in it.

When asked if it included a clutch pedal, he replied it had two gas pedals "to go faster."

Avery Kuligowski, 5, a kindergartner at Alton Darby Elementary School, also enjoyed her first Cardboard Challenge experience.

Avery used boxes not only to create but also to make a fashion statement.

"I'm making a person who is wearing a box on his head," she said.

Several schools were tasked with collecting donations of cardboard for the past month. The material was delivered to Heritage for the event.