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Rigamajig was developed in 2011 by Cas Holman for Friends of the High Line in collaboration with early learning educators, woodworkers and children. It was launched in New York City’s High Line Park as the High Line Children’s Workyard Kit and reflects the park’s industrial history, simple, honest materiality, and the organization’s dedication to creating meaningful play opportunities for children and families. Since its debut, the Rigamajig has made a home in hundreds of schools, playgrounds, children’s museums, and backyards. The award winning design is evolving and expanding as we learn from our pilot schools and playful friends.

Cas Holman continues to design and advocate for play, imaginative making, and art education.  Her ongoing relationships with visionary schools, teachers, and children’s museums give her opportunities to observe and learn from experts in childhood and play.  With them she has designed playgrounds, indoor play spaces and learning materials that let children and play guide the learning.  She works closely with a team of educational thought-leaders to bring the play-centered pedagogy of Anji Play China to the rest of the world. She is an Associate Professor of Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and is constantly discovering connections between design education, early childhood, and play.

Learn more at CASHOLMAN.COM

Ngina Johnson

Captain Of Play and Learning

 "Things that children learn without joy, they forget easily" old Finnish saying


I joined the Rigamajig team with over 18 years of preschool and elementary education teaching experience. Throughout my career, I’ve taught is some of  the more progressive environments where children are encouraged and challenged to work collaboratively, creatively and most importantly, inspires children to take risks in their explorations.

My approach to early childhood learning is anchored in a concept of “failing up” which means that children are expected to make mistakes and collectively problem solve with one another in order to come to a successful end result. In the words of Alexander K. Trenfor, “The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see…”

As your Rigamajig Captain of Play and Learning, my primary goal is to work with teachers to explore innovative ways to use Rigamajig as a method of  discovery and study of abstract and concrete concepts with their students. As a classroom resource, Rigamajig has been designed to foster children’s creativity and to encourage them to ask questions and to wonder about all the possibilities that can surface from one study or project to the next.

Rigamajig can also be used for just play.  However, here play can provide an opportunity for children to learn and to reinforce their cognitive skills. As educators we must begin by creating an developmentally appropriate environment where children are conscious of time and space. Such environments will look different in different schools and at different ages and one needs to be comfortable in that. It is essential to remember that there is no correct method or outcome when children engage with Rigamajig. This is an exploratory toy that can be used to support learning among diverse populations and young minds.

As educators, we must keep in mind that the toy’s purpose is to encourage children to be creators, problem solvers, to work cooperatively, and to illustrate their ideas in a practical and concrete way. If teachers remain mindful of these parameters, they will find that Rigamajig is a useful tool in the classroom and they will see their students grow developmentally, creatively and cooperatively through the experiences and processes.

We are offering a variety of Project Plans as resources that have been designed to support teachers in their efforts to creatively work with their students through play. We invite YOU to share your Rigamajig project experience by posting them on our social media network.  Share your experience with our community by emailing



KaBOOM is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids-particularly those growing up in poverty in America- the childhood they deserve, filled with balance and active play, so they can thrive. KaBOOM! and Cas Holman are working together to bring Rigamajig to classrooms, playgrounds and public parks near you.

Rigamajig in the world

We have been delighted with the addition of the Rigamajig materials in our classroom. Our class at Bing Nursery School is play-based, where 3 and 4 year old children choose from a variety of curriculum offerings. We particularly focus on offering materials that can be used by children with varying skill levels. Their play was incredibly imaginative and their pieces became sculptures, machines, and additions to drama play.”
— Peckie Peters, Bing Nursery School, Standford University, CA
Children do not separate imaginative play from cognitive thinking. Rigamajig gives children the opportunity to learn through self-directed, hands-on experience. Children develop social, physical, and cognitive skills through playing with Rigamajig. I love that Rigamajig allows me to take part as an active observer. Children plan, create, and reflect on their use of the kit without guidance – they are the masters of their own creativity.”
— Kelsey McCann, Explore & More Children’s Museum, NY
I have weekly engineering challenges. Rigamajig has added a completely new dimension to them. During literacy time, the students use Rigamajig to build scenes from a story or construct ways to solve problems. At the writing station, students then write about their creations and how they solved the problems. IN math, the students have used them for anything from practicing tally marks, powers f 10, and making patterns and shapes to composing, decomposing, and ordering numbers. I feel confident Rigamajig could be used to reinforce any skill in the classroom! Not only does it help us with engineering, but it also reinforces inquire-based learning. The possibilities are truly endless!”
— Byron Gilliland, Jefferson STEM Elementary School, MN
Students of all ages, even adults, enjoy creating with Rigamajig. It is a perfect tool for libraries and makerspaces which allows for big creations fairly quickly.”
— Todd Burleson, IDEA Library Lab/Makerpsace, IL