It is that time of year. Children, young and old, eagerly await the arrival of the mail, hoping for mysterious holiday packages. Some were delivered to the gift-giver first, arriving beautifully wrapped and ready to put under the tree. Others arrive direct from the retailer and still need a little help before they take their place with the others.
They all have one thing in common, however. They are all in boxes. The box is important, not just for what it contains, but for what it represents. Just ask the common cardboard box, which was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum, in November.
That’s right. The corrugated cardboard box is right up there with Barbie, Legos, Play-Doh and Crayola Crayons, when it comes to great things to play with.
“I think every adult has had that disillusioning experience of picking what they think is a wonderful toy for a child, and then finding the kid playing with the box,” Christopher Bensch, chief curator of the Strong Museum, told the Associated Press. “It’s that empty box full of possibilities that the kids can sense and that adults don’t always see.”
The Chinese invented cardboard in the 1600’s, according to the history posted on the National Toy Hall of Fame web site. The first cardboard box was introduced by the English in 1817; but it was an American, Robert Gair, who, in 1879, produced the first die-cut and scored box that is still familiar to us today.
RNews reports that the toys inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame are selected by a committee of 19 teachers, inventors, authors and child development experts. The board game Candy Land and the perennial favorite Jack in the Box, rounded out this year’s newest Hall of Famers.
“It’s important for kids to remember that there are toys powered by imagination and not just by batteries,” Bensch told Rnews.