Hey, Caine’s Arcade: Do you need a vending machine?

Most mornings, the kids wake up and get some time in front of some sort of screen. (Please don’t get too judge-y here: I work from home and am training for a 10K, so mornings are pretty much my only time to get stuff done.)

But one morning, the kids were especially cranky about shutting things down for breakfast, so I snapped, “No Screens Tomorrow!

Oh, joy: The punishment that gets me too.

So, when D came stumbling down the stairs the next morning at 7am and asked me for the iPad, I reminded him of the “no screens” day. I then said, “But you can do any craft you want“.

He said, “I want to paint.” At 7am. Le sigh.

So, I pulled out the paints, got him into a smock, and let him go at it. His sisters came down a while later and started thinking bigger.

Do we have a big box, Mom?“, Belly asked.

There was much running up and down the stairs to the basement, but they were all quiet and intent on their work. I had no idea what they were doing, but at their age, they can be trusted to not paint the furniture.

When they finished, they called me into the living room. And what they had created that morning was pretty cool.

Behold, a homemade vending machine:



close up of fruits for “sale”


close up of key pad (on right)

Yes, it works, as long as D is behind the machine. Put the money in, push the “button” for the number snack you want, and using little plastic pegs (that normally hold their Slip N’ Slide onto the lawn), a fruit gets knocked down below where it can be collected. Here’s a video of it being used. (Forgive my terrible camera person skills. All my videos look like this because I cannot hold still for 2 seconds.)


the back of the machine


No, we haven’t given out television away and filled the house with cardboard boxes. But, you can bet we’ll spend a few more mornings than normal with the paints out, the screens off, and the kids’ imaginations intact.


Though they’ve made many creative things before, this vending machine was, no doubt, inspired by Caine’s Arcade. If you haven’t seen this video yet, drop everything and watch it. It’s the best feel-good story out there, and it makes me so happy that kids like Caine are out there.