‘Tis the season for hayrides and corn mazes, but an upcoming event is providing a more two-dimensional spin on that fall staple. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Iowa Children’s Museum in Coralville will house the inaugural Corridor Cardboard Challenge. David Tominsky, of Cedar Rapids, is partnering with the museum to host the event, which is part of the Global Cardboard Challenge. Admission is free for museum members and $7 for non-members. “The idea is to get kids together to create, innovate, make some cool things and use their brains,” said Tominsky, a father of two. The Global Cardboard Challenge is a project of the Imagination Foundation, the group behind the viral video “Caine’s Arcade,” an 11-minute film released earlier this year depicting 9-year-old Caine Monroy’s game center. The arcade, full of games Caine built out of cardboard, shares space with his father’s auto parts store in East Los Angeles. Deb Dunkhase, executive director of the Iowa Children’s Museum, called the film “beautiful.”
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The video also touched Tominsky. “What I see is Caine saying, ‘Hey can I use this,’ and (his) dad basically letting him go free with his imagination,” he said. “What Caine’s imagination was able to create is awesome. There’s no other way to describe it. Purely amazing.” His sons, 6-year-old Evan and 9-year-old Isaac, share a long-standing passion for taking what could be trash and turning it into toys. Shortly after the “Caine’s Arcade” video broke through, Tominsky filmed and uploaded his son Isaac’s own take. He’d built a handheld obstacle maze game called “Tilta’ Ball,” using Popsicle sticks and — you guessed it — cardboard. As more people found “Caine’s Arcade” — the video has more than 3.27 million views on YouTube — filmmaker Nirvan Mullick launched a fundraising project to collect $25,000 to send Caine to college. Once that goal was met, the project exploded into the creation of the Imagination Foundation, which is now working to raise $250,000 to support activity and curriculum programming that teaches scholastic concepts through the “Caine’s Arcade” framework. The Global Cardboard Challenge is a combined fundraiser and rallying event for children to show off their cardboard creativity and commemorate the one year anniversary of the events depicted in “Caine’s Arcade.” After seeing the film, Tominsky stayed abreast of the movement via social media. When he heard about the plans for the Global Cardboard Challenge, he knew he wanted to get his kids involved. When he reached out to Dunkhase two weeks ago about hosting the event, he walked into a perfect situation. Makedo, a company that furnished kits for students to create structures out of household items, donated maze kits to Imagination Foundation for the challenge. Tominsky requested and received one and that maze will be the main feature at Saturday’s event. Guests are encouraged to supply 20 foot cardboard boxes to create the maze. Guests are welcome to bring their own homemade arcade games or craft their own during the afternoon.