Cardboard Arcade

April 17, 2012

Kellyn, a Design Mom reader, sent me this video and it brought such a grin to my face. I’m inspired by his ingenuity, and the hands off (but encouraging!) parenting.

I’m working on a big project with my kids right this minute, and watching this video was so great for me! Are your kids on spring break? Are they filling their time with any fun projects?

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vicki April 17, 2012 at 9:18 am

Loved this. Love that kids are so different, one from another–a fact I haved appreciated more as a grandmother than I did as mom.
My oldest grandson was a lot like Caine, always building something from trash, boxes, the patio furniture. My favorite (tho not at the time) was his simplest venture. He took a hundred (at least) paper plates and glued them with Elmer’s to the front lawn. This was a mushroom field.
He is now almost 17 and thinking about college. Interested in engineering, architecture or city planning.


2 Martha April 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

I found this the other day, I love that his dad just let him at it. He didn’t care that he was in the front of his store, or that he was approaching his customers, he let him be and his imagination run. I often have to remind myself that that ism more important than a clean house. I need a sign for the front door that says, “don’t mind our construction, we are having fun.”


3 everton terrace April 17, 2012 at 9:47 am

I know! I watched it last week and then sent it to almost everyone I know. It is a great reminder to not have so many toys, let children foster their imaginations – one of the greatest gifts you can give them. I also loved the sweet guy who was taken by him and set up the whole thing and filmed it. Best feel good “movie” of the week.


4 the sleepy time gal April 17, 2012 at 9:48 am

Ok. This totally made my day. I’m about to share it with the world. (Or at least my world of friend and fam!)



5 brindy April 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

I heard this story about a week ago and it brought me such joy. The imagination of a child is one of the most amazing things on this world. Thank you for sharing it with your readers.


6 Amie April 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

The internet has raised more than $150,000 for Caine’s college fund, and I believe they’ve started a foundation to inspire creativity in kids. I’m taking my 8yo son to visit this weekend.


7 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay April 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

My husband cried like a baby when he watched this… He was so touched. My kids thought it was pretty cool. I think that adults really get how special this little guy is. We all wish we would have done something like this when we were kids. We all hope that our kids will just let loose and run with a fantastic idea.


8 Heidi April 17, 2012 at 11:42 am

This brought tears to my eyes. It’s a wonderful reminder and challenge of the importance of not just buying things for my child, but letting her be creative with less.


9 Lori April 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

That. was. awesome.


10 Ann April 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Oh, this made me cry it’s so cute. I watched it with my two boys and my little one ran and got me a tissue. Thank you for sharing it.


11 Cortnie April 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I watched this over the weekend and my mother’s heart fell in love with this boy! What an inspiration!



12 Tasha April 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Teary-eyed too! WOW! Do I miss using old pizza and cereal box cardboard to make runways and expressways with my son…the HOURS we spent “traveling” were awesome. As a child, I used to make robots with fortune teller tickets that popped out as I hid in thebox! GREAT MEMORIES! Love that kid too:)


13 Kit April 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I saw this the other day and loved it! It reminded me of the little business or ‘machines’ my sister and I used to make but 1,000 times better. He’s such a cute, creative kid!


14 Leah April 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Posted this to my FB page last week because my nearly 5 year old is just like this boy–never lets us recycle a bit of cardboard! Both of my boys watched the video and thought the arcade was seriously cool…yesterday I posted photos of our “franchise” of Caine’s Arcade to my FB feed! My boys are seriously inspired. So far they’ve got a claw machine and a basketball game, I think soccer is coming today. I hope they’re not expecting a flashmob outside our front door this weekend! SUCH a great story. And such a great reminder to all of us Mamas that our kids don’t need fancy stuff…


15 Yana April 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Oh wow. This is very awesome! That kid must be set for life with the idea that he can succeed with what he loves. Such a cool story. Thanks for sharing.


16 Maricris @ SittingAround April 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I saw this video last week and it really made me cry. Very inspiring. I was touched by Caine’s perseverance. His parents did a great job in raising such a nice boy.


17 Jessica Poelma April 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm

So awesome. Thank you for sharing on your blog!


18 Jess (Where My Heart Is) April 18, 2012 at 2:45 am

Oh I am so relieved to hear that I am not the only one who cried. I wish I could go back to square on and re-parent (My daughters are 20 and 17). In Australia you have to have a permit to have a dog but anyone can have a child. I think that if everyone had to watch this video before they became parents, the world would be a better place. Think of the creativity and the self-esteem the next generation would have.


19 Jan @ Family Bites April 18, 2012 at 7:51 am

Loved this! My kids are in awe of that little boy, and even a wee bit inspired. Don’t we need to see so many more of these happy stories?


20 Adventures In Babywearing April 18, 2012 at 8:35 am

My kids were on spring break a few weeks ago – but the other day we all sat on the couch and watched Caine’s Arcade together. So inspiring! And of course, my boys were building their own out of Lego boxes and anything else they could find!



21 Damaris April 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

I’ve watched this video so many times. It never gets old. I even donated to his fund because I loved it so much. I also really appreciated the dad. What a neat guy to let his son take over the store front and just so supportive.


22 mandi@herbanhomestead April 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Aww this made me cry! Not only the creativity of the child, but the kindness of Nirvan to make his day! Wonderful story!


23 Anna M April 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm

people are awesome.


24 Sally Cage April 19, 2012 at 4:44 am

Thank you Gabby and thank you Kellyn!
This completely made my day and gave me a warm glow inside. And tears! Absolutely magical.


25 kaela d. April 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

i really loved this. thanks for sharing :)


26 Erin April 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

Gabrielle, I thought you might like to see this article in the LA Times where they interviewed Caine’s dad:,0,6872955.column


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