I distinctly remember my mother telling me as a child to stop letting my imagination run wild. Today, I find myself telling my daughter the exact opposite! Maybe it’s a generational gap or maybe we’ve developed into a society that craves the next big idea, but these days it seems imagination isn’t as common place.
As a kid in the 80’s, we spent the time between school getting out and dinner playing outside with our friends. We were active and without handheld video games, cell phones, ipods and other multi-media portables, we were imaginative. For girls, we would play house, dress up, shopping spree or even baby dolls. The boys would play the now politically incorrect cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, chase or simply spend hours in the dirt.
Rainy days meant playing with your toys inside or building a fort underneath the dining room table before your mom realized what you were doing. The point is, we had to think to play. Today, kids and adults have all kinds of gadgets that think and play for them.
In the past few years, we’ve seen great imagination at work in businesses like Apple. The question now is how do we foster imagination in our society today and how can we apply it to everything from education to finding solutions to humanity’s problems.
For adults, the trick is to not make imagination complex. It’s simple and pure. In 2011, a 9 year-old boy in Los Angeles became a viral inspiration overnight. Caine built an arcade out of old cardboard boxes at his father’s auto parts store and finally had his first customer. Lucky for Caine, this customer was also a film producer. After arranging a surprise flash mob of Caine’s Arcade customers, the film hit the internet and inspired millions.
The simplicity of one child’s imagination reached around the globe with something as simple as a cardboard box and tape. Thus, the Imagination Foundation was born. October 5th marks the anniversary of Caine’s flash mob with the Global Cardboard Challenge.
The goal is to get 1 million people from 70 countries to participate in this challenge which culminates in a day of play on October 5th. Mattress Firm is proud to be the national sponsor for this event and we’re hosting official Global Cardboard Challenge events throughout the US.
We invite you to participate or host your own Global Cardboard Challenge! You can have a block party, get your local school, church, after-school program or anyone else to participate. It’s easy and so much fun! Simply visit www.cardboardchallenge.com to sign up. You’ll get a confirmation email with a link to request free cardboard and craft supplies from Mattress Firm.
Even better is the fun you’ll have using your imagination. Share your creativity and post your pictures on Facebook and together let’s get the whole world to imagine.