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Children through middle school take Cardboard Challenge

October 2nd, 2013 10:38 am by Holly Nelms

Children through middle school take Cardboard Challenge

The city’s first Cardboard Challenge event, to be held Oct. 5, is designed to encourage children to be inventive by creating an original object made from cardboard and other recycled materials. Contributed photo.

KINGSPORT — The city’s first Cardboard Challenge event will be held at the Farmers Market on the corner of Center and Clinchfield streets from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 5.

The event, organized by Fun Fest Director Lucy Fleming, is designed to encourage elementary and middle school-age children to be inventive by creating an original object made from cardboard and other recycled materials.

These creations can be games, structures, machines, vehicles, robots, costumes or any other imaginative object made from everyday items, and they can be made individually, or in a school, church or scout group.

The Cardboard Challenge was inspired by a short film called “Caine’s Arcade,” which focuses on the summer of a young boy named Caine Monroy. During the summer, Caine spent a significant amount of time building an extravagant and highly innovative cardboard arcade, which eventually caught the attention of filmmaker Nirvan Mullick.

After being amazed by Caine’s creation, Mullick invited dozens of intrigued new customers to Caine’s arcade, creating media awareness of the arcade and eventually establishing Imagination Foundation, the organization responsible for creating the Cardboard Challenge.

This year, the Cardboard Challenge will take place on Oct. 5 in 40 states in the United States and at least 30 countries as part of the celebration of the international Day of Play. Children throughout the world are encouraged to be a part of this global festivity and to grow as young visionaries with the desire to change the world through creative innovation.

Fleming said the event will be much like a “show, tell, and play day,” similar to a science fair. One of the event’s main objectives is to get children excited about learning new things, both by creating their own entries and by playing with the entries of others.

Project entry forms are available at There is no registration fee. While there is no deadline to register for the event, early registration is preferred. Project photos are encouraged and can be posted to the “Cardboard Challenge Kingsport TN” Facebook page prior to the event.

This event is not a competition; rather, it is designed to encourage creativity among children, without the pressure of wanting to win a prize. Entries will be observed by other exhibitors, as well as by any member of the general public that would like to attend at no cost.

Cardboard can be picked up for free by participants at any Mattress Firm store in Kingsport, Bristol or Johnson City. Donations of art supplies or packing tape will be taken at any of the stores and can be picked up by participating groups.

For more information about the event, visit or search for the event’s Facebook page. To learn more about Caine’s arcade, visit and search for “Caine’s Arcade.” 

Holly Nelms is a columnist for INK ... news for teens and a member of the Times-News’ INK advisory board.

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