The CarMax Foundation and KABOOM! cultivate Future Innovators through play

The CarMax Foundation and KABOOM! are partnering to launch the Future Innovators Program, addressing the need for early development of 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. Leveraging Rigamajig®, the partners are encouraging STEM interest and 21st century skills development through child directed creative play.

What is Rigamajig®?

Rigamajig® is an innovative play and learning solution created by Cas Holman, founder and principal designer at an independent toy company. Rigamajig®, stimulates inquisitive minds through creative thinking and problem-solving skills that are developed during experiential play and hands-on active learning. The collection of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope allows children to follow their curiosity through play.

Future Innovators Challenge

By 2021, 23 STEM-focused, youth-serving organizations in communities across the country will be awarded a Rigamajig® set by The CarMax Foundation and KABOOM!. These organizations will host an "Innovators Challenge," where CarMax associates will coach teams of kids to tackle a problem using the Rigamajig®.

Project-based lesson plans

As a part of this program, KABOOM! and The CarMax Foundation partnered with experts in childhood education and psychology at Purdue University Department of Human Development and Family Studies and the Concordia University Department of Education to create 10 project-based lesson plans. The project-based lesson plans are designed to provide educators with a creative framework to support small group play experiences with Rigamajig and also provide enriching extension activities for the classroom. The lesson plans are rooted in scholarly research and national education standards in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and English language arts. Each lesson features ideas, prompts, videos and challenges to provoke kids to flex their creative problem-solving skills using Rigamajig®. The lesson plans are available and free for the public to access.


The Future Innovators Program released a research study conducted in collaboration with Dr. Zachary S. Gold of Concordia University and Dr. James Elicker at the Purdue University Human Development and Family Studies Department. The study will provide new data describing engineering-related, physical and social play behaviors kids display in a semi-structured play context using Rigamajig®. Read the report, Effects of Rigamajig Play Materials on Elementary Children's Early Development, Learning, and Interest in STEM.

The CarMax Foundation and KABOOM! are invested in supporting kids, and through this play-based learning initiative, 170,000 kids will develop core 21st century skills. By encouraging and practicing these skills at a young age, kids can be better prepared for the careers of tomorrow.