[Activity 1] Childhood Objects


Hi everyone!

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.


My brother and I had some friends that liked to play PickUp Sticks. We enjoyed yo play while at the same time talked a lot among us.

But the object of my childhood was the glass, and the glass cutter. I have talk about them in my past posts.



My favorite toy was a “Monchichi” It was my best friend, I fed it the mud soups I created in the garden, I made it clothes, I taught it, I haunted my brother with it when he teased me (the head is hard and was my favorite weapon), etc…
it doesn’t seem very multifunctional but it was.


I always like to use colors to give more sense to my life and dreams. This object remember me to keep dreaming.


One of my mothers best friends was a math teacher. She gave some of the best gifts. As an adult I have of course figured out that she gave me things that were educational, but at the time I just enjoyed them. I especially remember the magnetic tangram set and the birthday calendar with Hundertwasser paintings. But my favorite was the book with kaleidocycles decorated with M.C. Esher’s tessellations. Today I teach both maths and art, and use tangrams and tessellations in my classes.



As a young child, I used to wake up early in the morning to play legos with my dad. For whatever reason, I always had this special attachment to the smallest pieces, which I called the “tinies,” and which my father dutifully handed over whenever he encountered them in his pile.

Many people speak of their childhood experiences with legos as a foundation for their adult interest in creative pursuits and other forms of tinkering. This is also true for me, to some extent, but I think the real heart of my legos experience as described above comes from engaging in “parallel play” with my father–a childlike grown-up who simultaneously served as (and still does) a peer and a mentor to me. My dad didn’t try to convince me to incorporate a wider variety of pieces into my (debatably unimaginative) “tinies” towers. He was happy to simply play alongside of me, creating his own structures and encouraging me to pursue my own interests and find my own way.

This has affected the way I think and learn because it has given me the confidence to follow my instincts and pursue those “tiny” morsels of knowledge and experience that others may not find quite so compelling. And, in spite of my love of language and writing, playful experiences such as these have left me keenly aware of the fact that “talk” is not always the foundation for powerful communication and emotionally meaningful connections.


Lembro bem que tive alguns objetos importantes na minha infância, como papel, lápis, livros e bonecas. Desenhava muito, fazia roupas para as bonecas também, elas eram minhas alunas, na ausência das amigas e criava objetos com papel. Hoje percebo que essas experiências foram significativas na formação de habilidades de comunicação, expressão, criatividade, liderança.


Creative idea, indeed!!:heart_eyes:


Yep. Walking through the hardware aisles make me think of my dad. He is a fabulous tinkerer, always making something or a thousand somethings. It’s helped me to feel very comfortable with our maker space and to develop as a maker and tinkerer myself.
I live in a neighbourhood of great garbage finds. To date, 2 spoke shavers and a hand drill are my prize finds. I am NOT comfortable letting my elementary students touch the power drill but I am happy letting them use the hand drill.


That is a really lovely share. We’re just about to have our science fair and I’ve been reflecting on the importance of observation, the little details that can go overlooked but can be critical discoveries. One team took on a motor project and for the life of us, we could not get the rotter to work. I brought it home to my tech savvy husband and he too has struggled with it… to a bit of easing of my feelings of frustration… we are not alone. The 2 boys had the discovery of magnetizing their cotter pins and I am kicking myself that I did not have them focus on this in their write up and presentation. We still have a little time this morning before the afternoon so I am hoping I can grab the chance to speak with them about it. How many scientists discovered really important phenomena and concepts incidentally? I too have a passion for the smalls. The little things that have their own way and spirit.


My previous Childhood Objects share (in Fall '17) was FM radio, and although I’m tempted this time to write about phonographs, instead my updated Childhood Objects answer is “Tennis”. In my childhood I was greatly influenced by - and thought with/through/in relation to - the equipment, materials, surfaces, geometry, scoring, etiquette, history, and even current events of tennis.

The very little bit of tennis play that I enjoyed as a child consisted of hitting a ball against a garage door, or occasionally playing on city courts with a friend or sibling, using borrowed or inherited racquets and found tennis balls. These contexts were themselves complicated because it felt that we were outside of the traditional boundary of what seemed to be an exclusive sport.

I was fascinated by what I mis/understood of how the materials of the sport worked. How could tightened or loosened strings impact one’s ability to control, spin, or aim the ball? How could one ball be significantly better than another? (Why did professionals check each ball before serving and always choose one over another?)

Scorekeeping was fascinating and archaic. (Historians can’t explain some of the details.) Can one win a match while losing more points than one’s opponent? (Yes.) Wimbledon was the only sporting event viewed on TV in my house each year, and it was rich with confusing features. How could the sport be played on a grass surface (obviously, we had tried playing in our backyard, without success)? Why did royalty attend (what is royalty?) and why or how did the players bow to or acquiesce to their presence? In 1980, the first year I was able to follow most of the finer details of Wimbledon, I was introduced to one of the most enduring binary divisions in my father’s world: Borg vs. McEnroe, or really Borg vs. anyone (though Borg would soon leave the sport). I deduced that I should emulate Borg in everything, which led to the most exciting aspect of childhood tennis of all:

Whenever I played tennis, even hitting a ball against a garage door, what I really played was make-believe Wimbledon. Anything that would have frustrated me in another context became an opportunity to imitate Borg’s quiet style. I would be (as Vygotsky says) a head taller than my (usual) self. Tennis is still something I experience as make-believe play.



Have you seen the Makedo kits?


You speak to my passion. I am an avid garbage hunter. I have been thinking too that the supplies for making have been important. Paper. I had a bag of paper creations, cuttings and foldings my grade 1 teacher never seemed to have time for me to share and remember the sense of loss to learn the caretaker had thrown it out. As an adult I can understand how she needed to limit my abundance. Now I tell a kid pick one or two to share so there is enough room on the platform and our limited time frame for all who want to share to do so.


This reminds me of a book of Inuit tales. The cover was green and the tales terrified me. One story of a head that followed his family everywhere and demanded they care for him, at the expense of their own well-being. I do not understand people’s enjoyment of horror movies. I become haunted with nightmares and a sense of pervasive terror that does not dissipate easily. That said, I love graphic novels. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series was the starting point. I love the way he weaves archetypes of tales from many cultures.


I thought long and hard about my childhood objects and I could say that i loved play with a lots of object but my favourite game was make them animated and making up stories!



As a child, I collected sets and figurines from the Littlest Pet Shop series. Over time, I built up a huge collection of them and each time I would play with the characters, I would make up and refine stories about them. Every pet had a biological or adopted family, a job (or were students), and a role in the community.

Every story I made up had to fit within the overall world I had created. Through this experience, I learned how to create a cohesive story and built an understanding of consequence. If one pet made another mad, then there had to be a resolution to that conflict before they could play together again. If a student got in trouble at school, they had to serve detention or do community service before they could go back to school again. If a pet won a trophy at a contest, then that trophy was theirs to keep. When that didn’t happen, the story didn’t make sense anymore.

I also learned the value of building on an idea over time. When I recreated a story I had already done before, I often came up with new ideas that made the stories better. Over time, some of these stories became (in my mind) perfected, and then I would set them aside to work on new stories, but still sometimes going back to old, favorite stories


Oi, meu objeto de infância que me influenciou e que gosto até hoje é historias em quadrinhos, me tiravam do mundo real me levavam para lugares nunca pensados, para o passado e para o futuro, me ensinou muitas coisas desde carácter a ciências, me fez refletir e pensar sobre inúmeras situações desde o abandono de um filho pelos pais, perseguição religiosa a até questões filosóficas como a existência de Deus, e formou leitor, adoro ler, leio muito quadrinhos até hoje mas também leio de tudo, me ajudou a ser uma pessoa melhor.


My object was actually more of an experience than a physical object. I had Disney cassette tapes of a couple of Disney movies which I would, with some friends, listen to over and over again and we would spend countless hours recreating entire scenes and sequences from the films. Our main go-tos were Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. Occasionally we’re dive into some Aladdin as well. We each had our own roles and characters which we stayed true to and learned our parts flawlessly and would transform the living room into enchanted castles or elephant graveyards. I remember feeling entirely engrossed in this process. I still have memories of not only my friends and I singing along to the song but also memories of what these transformations in my imagination looked like. I can picture a staircase or dining room in the Beast’s castle and remember myself in different roles. I think this helped to shape my preferred learning style, which I later put a name to as Kinesthetic. I found that learning the roles and the lyrics and lines of these movies came so much more easily to me when I was up and moving and actually performing these things as opposed to just sitting quietly and listening to the tapes. Being a fairly active person all my life, this is something that I learned early on about myself and was able to utilize it to work to my advantage in various aspects of my life.


When I was eight or nine, my father gave me my first set of tools after helping him repair the family car. One weekend, my father asked me to hand him tools while he worked. I remember him pointing out poorly designed parts as well as things he admired for their engineering. In this process, I was learning about appreciating good design, solving problems and sticking with them.

My bicycle was not working well at the time, so I asked my father to fix that next. He went to a store and bought a set of small tools so I could repair the bicycle myself. I was very proud to fix it and took even greater pride to keep my little machine working for a long time. Those first tools gave me a sense of pride and confidence I could fix anything.


Beautiful story. It’s a good example of how a deep connection can build even if no words are spoken.