Many of you, I am sure, have had the pleasure of watching this youtube video of “Caine’s Arcade.” If you have not, do yourself a favor and watch it now. It’s the kind of thing that makes you really believe that boredom leads to creativity. This kid is amazing and his Dad is too. I always say that observing art can sometimes be transformative, but participating in art: playing music, painting pictures, acting in a play, writing poetry, building cool stuff out of cardboard boxes- is almost always transformative. There is no denying that Caine is a genius, an inspiration, a passionate, excited kid who made the coolest place. Out of cardboard. This video went viral. Almost 3 million views are recorded on youtube. Inspired by Caine’s creativity and ingenuity, people have donated over $200,000 for his college fund. We see this kind of passion and we respond. Why? Because it is undeniably cool. Don’t you want to go there?
So the other night I was watching television and this Geico ad came on
How cool are these parents? How much would my kids LOVE it if I did this for them? How much would I be teaching them about the delight of creating stuff. I will admit that I am not a roller coaster fan and I really do get that there are folks out there who love the thrill of that kind of a ride. Me, I am anxious enough all the time that adding to that anxiety on purpose is not my idea of fun. So I get that this doesn’t replace a super high, super fast roller coaster experience. But it does something else altogether. Imagine actually creating an amusement park in your own yard WITH your kids. Imagine how much fun you would have as a family. The creating is even more fun than the experience of going for the ride, or playing the game.
When I turned 8, my mom set up a spider web of string in our back yard for my birthday party. She tied a prize to one end of the string and a pencil to the other end. She had enough pieces of string for every child who attended the party. Then she wove them all over the yard, under chairs and around bushes and through the swing set until they formed a giant spider web. We kids then had the pleasure of winding our string around the pencil until we got to the end- our prize. I sure don’t remember what the prize was, but I remember the fun of winding my string and the delight in seeing the backyard looking like a web. A few weeks ago, I felt like I needed a pick me up. So in the 15 minutes I had before I had to pick up the kids from school, I set up a spider web for them. I had been to the bank and I had two lollipops. I tied them to some yarn and then created a web all over the down stairs of our home with use two long pieces of yarn. When the kids walked in the door, I handed them each a pencil with yarn attached. They then wound their way to the lollipops. It wasn’t a trip to Disney, but it sure was fun and I think they will remember that for a long time.
Needless to say, I think Geico is dumb. I think this ad only shows awesome parents making the coolest project in their yard. I find it totally unrealistic that parents this cool would have kids like the ones in this ad. Kids whose parents show them the joys of making stuff would be psyched to go through a home made tunnel.
What about your kids? If they saw the video of Caine’s Arcade would they want to go? I bet they would. What do you think your kids would do if you made them an amusement park in your back yard? I think my kids would love it. Especially if I got a cotton candy machine too.