Although I was not fully aware of it, Legos were certainly a huge part of my learning and creativity as a child. I would buy most of the Star Wars Lego sets, take them apart, and combine them to build different types of ships and enact dramatic scenes with my favorite characters.
However, I think the most important childhood object (although, technically this is a digital object) was interacting with a skill tree in an role-playing video game. I remember the first time I played a (RPG ) role-playing video game (also Star Wars) called Knights of the Old Republic. I had never experienced what it was like to have a digital identity that was projected onto a screen-- a digital identity I truly cared about developing in several types of ways. This is where the oft-used skill tree that is common to RPGs comes into play.
It was the first time I ever had a visual representation of how skills develop from a beginner’s level to an expert’s level. RPGs usually require a lot of practice and repetition, much like real life. Every time you use a skill in the game, you are rewarded experience points, which allows you to then eventually unlock the next tier on your way to mastery of a skill.
Ever since then, while learning anything, I wonder what the skill tree would look like in order to create benchmarks and milestones in my head.
Here is an image from a game called Skyrim, which depicts a skill tree.