What’s the Global Cardboard Challenge?

What is the Global Cardboard Challenge?

We’re celebrating Global Cardboard Day at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center! Join us on Saturday, October 5 from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm to build something amazing!

The Global Cardboard Challenge is celebrated by nearly 2 million people in more than 80 countries. The worldwide phenomenon started with a 9-year-old boy who used creativity and ingenuity to inspire people of all ages.

In 2012, Caine Monroy opened Caine’s Arcade at the front of his dad’s auto parts store in East Los Angeles. These weren’t just any arcade games, they were made completely out of cardboard! Caine’s cardboard creations were not only fun, they were functional.

Caine spent his summer working hard to create, build, and improve his cardboard arcade. At the end of summer, a filmmaker named Nirvan was visiting the auto parts store. When Nirvan found out that he was Caine’s first and only customer, he knew that he had to tell the world about Caine and his amazingly creative cardboard arcade.

Nirvan used social media to spread the word about Caine’s Arcade. Nirvan and Caine’s dad surprised Caine with over 100 visitors who were all ready to play. Nirvan made a short film called Caine’s Arcade, and it quickly went viral. Soon, children all over the world were imagining, playing, and creating with cardboard!

Caine is now 16 years old, he loves learning and creating, and he still inspires kids all over the globe. Caine plans to go to college to study engineering, and he is interested in designing video games. Caine helped show the world that if you can dream it, you can create it!

Global Cardboard Day is now celebrated every year on the first Saturday in October, in honor of the day that Caine shared his arcade with his first big crowd. We are excited to celebrate this special day here at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center!

Caine’s ingenuity, imagination, and his experiences with sharing his creativity perfectly align with the values we hope to instill here at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center. Our vision is to give children high quality experiences that inspire a lifelong love of learning. At the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, we strive to provide opportunities for children to explore, create, discover, and learn through play.

The Global Cardboard Challenge is the perfect example of an important type of play known as creative play. Creative play is open-ended and unstructured. There are no directions or how-to guides. Objects, such as cardboard boxes, that are used in creative play are meant to spark imagination and ingenuity. We believe in the important role creative play has in development.

Providing the opportunity to play freely through creative play is a valuable approach to teaching important skills. In a survey of over 1500 CEOs, a majority cited creativity as one of the most valuable skills for the future. Making choices, planning ideas, and building and creating from scratch help develop critical thinking skills.

Another important skill learned in creative play is resourcefulness. Even with only a few materials, there are endless opportunities to build amazing creations. Materials used in creative play are recycled and most often free, providing access so that all children are able to engage in these meaningful play experiences. The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center is committed to ensuring accessibility for every family, striving to remove barriers that prevent play.

Creative play also teaches teamwork. It is inspiring to witness children working together to build their cardboard creations. Children can communicate their ideas to each other, share the limited resources available, and collaborate to make their amazing creations.

The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center strives to enrich the communities it serves and has hosted people from all 50 states and 23 countries! The Global Cardboard Challenge has also reached so many communities worldwide to foster creativity and bring people together to explore, create, discover, and learn.

We can’t wait to celebrate Global Cardboard Day with you here at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center!

The fun doesn’t end here, you can make your own cardboard creations at home! Don’t have any cardboard boxes at home right now? You can use all kinds of cardboard. Check out our blog post where we give you some fun ideas to upcycle paper towel tubes.

These are just a few of the unlimited possibilities. What else can you imagine and create? We can’t wait to see what ideas you bring to life with all types of cardboard and other recycled materials!

Want to learn more about Caine’s journey and the Global Cardboard Challenge? Check out imagination.org and watch the short film “Caine’s Arcade”.