A Norman Boy Scout has donated a water table he created to a local day care center.
When Life Scout Ryan Schaefer got word that the Middle Earth Child Development Center was looking for outdoor play equipment, he knew he wanted to create something to donate as his Eagle Project, which every Boy Scout must complete as a part of the process of earning their Eagle Scout badge.
“I brainstormed the idea to do a water table, kind of like what you have at children’s museums, so I decided to go with that,” Schaefer said. “I got to work on the design for this, which changed a few times along the way.”
Originally, Schaefer said he conceptualized a large, permanent installment, but decided to change to a more portable design, settling on a 6-by-1 foot design, complete with a wooden trough, a tower and a water circulation system that could operate somewhat like a river that toys could float along.
Schaefer said that simplifying the design allowed it to function indoors during the winter as a race platform among other functions.
“It took longer to produce than I expected, but over the past few months I got the planning wrapped up and got the table built,” Schaefer said. “A few obstacles came about in the building process, including something I thought would dry clear actually didn’t, but I worked around that.”
Schaefer doesn’t know what the kids think of it yet, but said the staff seemed pretty excited about it.
Alexandra Riddle, executive director of Middle Earth Child Deveopment Center, said because they are non-profit, donations big or small are highly important to them.
“Especially when it’s within the Norman community, because of course, it’s so funny because it’s a small big town, where everyone knows everybody and helps each other,” Riddle said. “That's what’s really great about Norman.”
Riddle said a water table will be a great activity during a time where activities are limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said this is a strange time for younger children.
“Whenever the kids see it, they will be super excited to play with it,” Riddle said. “We are going to be able to show it to our kids on Monday, which is exciting because frequently in the summer we do things like water days with different classrooms, so it will get put to use very soon.”
Andrew Seamans, owner of D5 Architecture in Norman, was serving on the Middle Earth Child Development Center Board in 2017 when the water table project started. He decided to provide the financing and materials required for the project after Schaefer created 3D designs and visited with various staff.
“This was a fun experience learning to design it,” Schaefer said. “Hopefully the kids will enjoy it, and I was glad to be able to do that for them. “
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