The Cardboard Box Phenomenon


A few friends that have kids have shared the following experience with me and are just as perplexed as I am.

It seems that after hundreds of dollars were spent on toys for their children’s Christmas the kids don’t really care much for them. Sure it lights up and speaks French, English and Spanish but it isn’t that exciting. After a few minutes of playing with said toy these kids say, “au revoir” and move on. The interesting thing—hence why we are so perplexed—is what they are moving on to.

The cardboard box.

The cardboard box that the really cool rocking horse with flames on its side came from, or the cardboard box that the scooter that speaks, French, English and Spanish came from.

It’s a cardboard box…

My own daughter has done this several times. We have a box that is big enough for her to climb into and that’s exactly what she does. Claire plays in this box, laughs, falls out of it and I’m sure she uses it as her own personal bathroom.

I remember playing with my little brother when we were kids in our own boxes. We were astronauts, racecar drivers, and a million other things. I remember coloring with crayons on the outside to personalize them. I’ve seen that some folks are starting to capitalize on this box phenomenon by providing kids with premade boxes to suit their imagination. See here for the simpler house model.

I can’t help but marvel at the simplicity of my daughter playing in this box. It’s a cardboard box, but I guess it is so much more than that. To me it is a reminder that I need to use my imagination more. That having fancy things do not really make me happier—some times they make things more complicated!

I am envious (in a good way) at the manner in which my daughter can find joy in such a simple thing as a cardboard box. Maybe I’m putting too much into this thought, but what has happen to us adults that a cardboard box isn’t enough anymore? When was the last time we found joy in something so simple?

It is something worth pondering. At least I think.




3 Comments on “The Cardboard Box Phenomenon

  1. Hey! I’m a big, big fan of this article. Well done. It really is an interesting thought, and a very personal reminder that we often do become too infatuated with fancy things. We should be more like a child – completely pleased and content using their imagination more than using things. I’m looking forward to following your blog, as I just started a blog (ironically very similarly named), and will be a father myself in about 5 months. Thanks for the post, and I hope you can check my blog out as well!

    • Thans for you comment brother. I just checked out your blog and yes, we have a very similar name and purpose to our blogs. I look forward to learning form your experience. You and your wife are in my prayers.

      • You’re very welcome. And trust me, you’ll be learning right along with me, because I’m sure I’ll have no idea what I’m doing to start with. Haha. Thank you so much for the prayers! You and yours are in mine as well.

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