Remember when a giant cardboard box was a magical playhouse? When folding box tops became windows or doors, and sheets over furniture extended your own little cardboard domain? In this electronic gadget and computer world, one may wonder how much this manual form of play and imagination still goes on.
Hopefully parents everywhere are still saving those wonderful refrigerator boxes. And at least one designer is doing what she can to encourage cardboard fun. “Designer Liya Mairson has solved the issue of not having enough room to build a playhouse, or dedicate a full-time play area in your home to your kids, with her pop-up and collapsible cardboard play abode, ‘My Space.’ Children may easily construct and then tuck away this 100% recyclable nifty niche on a whim! When expanded, accordion-like, the multi-panel setup becomes a world unto itself, complete with cutout windows, working door flaps, and pop-out shelves…The user-friendly, durable nook is designed to be a blank and versatile backdrop for children to use their toys and belongings to create different worlds derived from their imagination…Imagine living in a giant pop-up book and you’ll get the basic drift of ‘My Space.’”
It’s kind of an ironic name isn’t it? This cardboard ‘My Space’ seems about as far away from computers and the internet as you can get. And while there have been other commercial cardboard playhouse designs over the years, this one has so many more possibilities and variations. The photos only show a few of them. The video below, despite a rather frenetic musical accompaniment, shows a bunch of wonderful permutations of this imaginative folding cardboard contraption. Apparently it’s not available commercially, at least not at this time, but it could serve as further inspiration for home done versions.
As much as we may try to live the adage of being childlike just not childish, there are some things that seem to rest in childhood alone. Cardboard forts may be one such thing. But then again, maybe we instead just move on to a more grown up version. After all, there sure are a lot of home renovation and improvement stores and shows these days. Maybe some of what they do is address our leftover yearnings from those days when magic and imagination could turn a cardboard box into anything we could dream up.