Wouldn’t it be sweet if you could build a something that would allow you to live on a cloud? Or a contraption that would “allow you to store memories and watch them whenever you wanted to relive them”? Or even build a dinosaur, a monster, and a what-cha-ma-call-it? The Workyard Kit is a children’s educational tool designed by Professor Cas Holman of the Rhode Island School of Design. The kit encourages a child to exercise his or her imagination by exploring a set of wooden planks, pulleys, bolts, ropes, and wheels. Raised in the foothills of the Sierras, Holman’s outdoor play involved the classic… sticks and mud. Understanding that city kids don’t often get that type of play, Holman premiered the Workyard Kit in 2011 at the High Line in New York City, saying that bringing the kit to the city “gave [the kids] control and let them build their own environment.” (fastcodesign.com)
No instructions here, just the freedom to express oneself by connecting random things together. This isn’t your parents’ old school Lego and Barbie definition of play. A child can construct a Cadillac, fabricate a fishing boat, or develop a dune buggy. The kit truly gives children the freedom to create anything their minds can dream up, all the while allowing silliness, creativity, and fun exploring the possibilities.
The Workyard Kit is currently being tested in several pilot schools around the country where Holman hopes the kits will enhance STEAM education. STEAM education is an evolution of the growing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) educational program. The difference here is that STEAM includes Art… Hence the “A”. After all, how can you succeed in science, technology, engineering, or math without exercising your creative muscles? (Source: Adobe State of Create Study)
Currently set up in eight schools and two parks, the kits are available for families or the classroom. Prices range from $700 (with 51 parts) to $1,950 (253 parts), depending on how many kids are playing. If you’re curious about testing one out and live in the New York City area, check the High Line event calendar for kids programs here. Holman has said that she is in the process of rebranding and renaming the kit the “Rigamajig”, so watch out for an updated website. In 2005 Holman joined a New York City architecture firm to develop a similar concept using over-sized building blocks. Check it out here.
Curious about the designer behind this cool idea? Click here: http://www.casholman.com/