Crystal Campbell (back right) was excited to see children creating their own thing with the Rigamajig kit of wooden planks and fittings she helped obtain for the Will Rogers Memorial Museum Children’s Museum. There were many different sizes and shapes during Spring Break when hundreds of children visited the Museum every day.
At first glance, it looks like someone dropped a pile of lumber in the midst of the Dog Iron Ranch area of Will Rogers Memorial Museum Children’s Museum. Canvas buckets hold pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope to use to “Rigamajig” of wooden planks of various sizes and shapes.
Crystal Campbell was all smiles when she saw a group of children putting together a wagon during her first visit to the children’s area since arrival of the giant box of wood and accessories.
“It’s like a wooden erector set,” said Campbell, who is largely responsible for a $15,000 grant, which provided the Rigamajig at no cost to the Museum.
The kit is designed to allow children to following their own curiosity through play and creativity — to find the hidden monsters, spaceships, wagons, or robots in the collection of wood, plastic and rope.
“The great thing about the Rigamajig is children have to use their own creativity to build,” said Tad Jones, Museum director. “The construction zone is in the area anchored by the Dog Iron Ranch painting.
“Life on the Ranch didn’t include cell phones and iPads and the Rigamajig takes kids back to a different era of solving problems.”
In a cooperative learning adventure, children can make friends and share resources … “my pulley for your canvas … hold this while I connect that.” Then when playtime is over, they can take the Rigamajig apart or leave it for other children to re-imagine.
Campbell was intrigued with the idea when she was contacted by KaBOOM, a non-profit organization founded in 1996 that has built or helped improve 16,000 playgrounds, including Will Rogers Park on land formerly owned by Will Rogers — and for which she has played a major role in obtaining playground equipment.
KaBOOM helped with the first grant for Will Rogers Park. “They called out of the blue,” said with the idea of the Rigamajig grant. “I immediately thought of the Museum. It is the perfect spot.”
Campbell worked with Will Rogers Memorial Museum staff for a quick turn-around to obtain the Rigamajig at no cost to the Museum, partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma as the primary funder that enabled the creatively play piece to be distributed.
Rigamajig empowers children to think dimensionally, building things larger than themselves. At the same time they are engaging an inquisitive and imaginative mind and spirit and getting exercise.
Rigamajig, designed by Cas Holman and Friends of the Highline Park in New York City, was launched in 2011 in High Line as a High Line Children’s Workyard Kit. It displayed the organization’s dedication to creating meaningful play opportunities for children and families.
Since its introduction, the Rigamajig has found a place in schools, playgrounds, children’s museums and backyards.
KaBOOM is a national non-profit organization that seeks to create a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.