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The best tools, tricks and ideas for playing with cardboard

If you haven’t heard of Caine’s Arcade yet, watch this video. You’re in for a treat for the eyes and the mind.

The story behind it is uber-inspiring. Nine-year-old Caine devoted his summer to making his own arcade out of cardboard boxes from the back of his dad’s used auto parts store, and the results garnered international attention. He started with a mini basketball net, then he made a soccer game with army men goalies, then a string-and-hook claw game, and eventually his arcade grew to occupy a big chunk of his dad’s garage.

The short film was made by Nirvan Mullick (who also happened to be Caine’s first customer). The film was made to raise money for Caine’s education. Soon, Caine’s Arcade Foundation was born, devoted to fostering creativity and entrepreneurship in kids. Just goes to show having fun and being successful go hand in hand.

To emulate this young DIY enthusiast’s resourcefulness, we’ve rounded up a few ways you and your kid can turn cardboard into awesome stuff.

Enter Makedo: a set of reusable connectors for building things with pretty much any materials you have on hand. From tiny to larger scale crafts, Makedo makes it easy for little hands to connect plastic, cardboard, cardstock and foam using clips, hinges, locks and a safe saw to cut and punch holes. When you’re done, you can pull your creations apart and start again. Check out Makedo’s inspiration blog, which shows some of the cool crafts people have been making at home — wild masks, dog sleds, finger puppets and transformer toys!

Here are some of our top Bunch cardboard creations:

diy dollhouse from juice cartons

1. Before you toss those OJ cartons into the blue box, ask yourself if you have some tiny figures who need a home! These recycled juice carton dollhouse make a great two story dwelling.

2. Turn a cardboard gift box into a brigade of shadow puppets and a shadow puppet theatre for them to perform in! Or if you have a big box at your disposal, check out this hand puppet theatre. It has curtains and everything.

3. Taking your own cardboard rocketship for a spin will allow your kid to visit other planets and hang with extra terrestrial life forms (ie – siblings).

kid playing with box guitar

4. Rocking out has never been more satisfying than with this DIY shoebox guitar!

5. Whip up our lavendar lemonade recipe and set up shop with your own simple lemonade stand. Fresh!

6. Hang this cardboard tube shark in your kids room — it makes a great glittery predator to ward off intruders, boogie men and bad dreams.

We want to see pics of your crafty creations! Post ’em on Facebook – you’re kid might be the next Caine!

Photo by sadgiraffeurbanwoodswalker and methyllives via Flickr, juice carton dollhouse via Inhabitots

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