[Week 1 Activity] Childhood objects


Welcome to our first activity!

This week we invite you to share a childhood object with the community.

Read Seymour Papert’s essay on Gears of My Childhood and think about an object from your childhood that interested and influenced you.

Reply to this post to share a photo and short description of your childhood object.
What was special about it? How did it affect the way you think and learn?

If you want to get more inspiration, you can also check out three essays extracted from Sherry Turkle’s book Evocative Objects (2007): Cello (by Tod Machover), Knots (by Carlol Strohecker), Stars (by Mitch Resnick).

We look forward to read about your childhood objects!

LCL Team

This post is also available in Italiano (Italian), 日本語 (Japanese), Português (Portuguese), Español (Spanish)

[Attività 1] Oggetti dell'infanzia
Reflecting on Childhood Objects
My childhood objects
Late entry Objects for Play
Childhood objects in Sweden
Week 1 - Childhood Object
Childhood Objects
Inspirational Toys
Week 1 My Childhood Objects
Reflecting on Childhood Objects
Precious Blue Bicycle
My bike

I can’t remember the first time I played with the Spirograph or where I got it from, but I can remember the
combination of joy and awe I felt while using it. Drawing those weird shapes was a really interesting experience - I loved how the smallest change to the initial setting ended up as a big change of the outcome. I loved the feeling of creating something new, that wasn’t there before, and the fact that I could control the consequences.
It was also “an object to think with” - knowing that it only looks random, but is actually guided by a set of rules sparked my curiosity and made me wonder and guess about how does it work


A few months ago, when we were asked to create a Scratch project for one my classes I thought about making some interactive art project, and suddenly remembered my spirograph. This time, my curiosity for understanding it was much easier to fulfill - Wikipedia was right there with the formulas, and I already have all the knowledge I need to make sense of them. 10 minutes later I had the first version of the working spirograph in Scratch, but I found myself spending a lot of time adding features, playing with the numbers, and trying to understand exactly what each of the variables mean. It wasn’t easy, but when I finally understood what’s going on I felt like I not only satisfied the curiosity of myself, but also of 10 year old Moran.

Want to check out my Scratch Spirogarph?


I also had it!


an object of my childhood is Commodor 64 and the basic programming language that has approached me as a self-taught computer world and has given me the strength and the will to learn new and more complex but fundamental things for my current job


I had a Spirograph, also… and loved it!!! I think it is great that you recreated it in Scratch. Way to go!


Colours, papers and big canvas in the art studio at school…Having the freedom to use big vertical surfaces and paste things here and there vs. my small table at home influenced the way I still work (and think) today in my research and when I teach students.


I guess one object that really impacted my childhood was the Nintendo. This was the one item that I could enjoy with my dad and my brother! We played Asteroids long into the night - and it was a fun time competing with each other. If I remember correctly, we would get to a score of 100,000 and then it would “roll over” to zero… that was the goal, to see how many times we could roll the score. Great memories!


I remember getting a book as a kid that showed me how to draw animals.

It showed me that you could reduce complex figures down to simple geometric shapes and build the image back up from that point. It was an incredible aha moment and one that I use a lot both in drawing and painting but also in thinking about complex problems. What ways can I break down the problem into simple steps, what ways of looking at the problem illuminate solutions i haven’t considered.


I’d have to choose the cardboard box.


We moved around a fair amount so I always had a lot of these. They were the 3D equivalent to the blank page. I built things out of them, or in them. They created a world or they encapsulated a world.
I also loved the children’s book, “Kristina Katerina and the Box”



Looking back on my childhood, I remember spending most of my time at home sitting at my desk drawing with coloured pencils. These pencils used to be my best friends when I was 4 or 5. Whenever my parents fought I would run up to my room and just draw in silence for hours. The way I remember them is old, messy and used up, too small to hold with my big, grown up hands today. The top of my right ring finger was always dirty and sometimes sore from the way I held the pencils. This never stopped me in drawing more though or made me change the way I hold them.

I also remember playing with my coloured pencils pretending that they were a little pencil family - arranging them by size and colour, giving them voices. This must have been when I first started combining colours and shapes together.

Today I’m a graphic designer and I start all my projects by hand, sketching ideas on a piece of paper. I have got a fascination with used up objects and tend to use analogue technologies and techniques in my work. Also, the colours I tend to use in my work today, probably go back to when I was small and first interacted/fell in love with certain colours.


Gosh I used to play with these too, building houses and drawing on them :slight_smile:


As a very young child I loved dolls. All kinds of dolls: baby dolls, stuffed animals, Popples (picured here) image.

I think what drew me to them was that I was an only child, infrequently in the presence of other children, but very interested in interpersonal relationships. I would spend hours imaging what my dolls where doing, how they would interact, what would they sound like if they could talk. It affects the way I think and learn, because my central focus in my life and my work is still on human interactions and why people behave the way that they do.


My first big influence was a 200 in 1 kit that had 200 different electronics projects that you experienced by putting wires into spring terminals to complete the circuit. I made radios, and transmitters, sound effect machines, flashing lights, and a morse code practice system. Why it was such a big influence was that it showed me HOW things worked, not just how to use them. I could adjust the outcome of projects by using different resistors, capacitors, etc. From there everything became a “What’s inside and how does it work?” exploration. Even now, I look at classroom design, lesson plans, classroom management procedures and how they all work and how they work together or maybe one lessens the other because they are at cross purposes.


We started with the TRS-80 and a friend had the C-64. My first “job” in programming was at 15 writing BASIC programs for a mom who home schooled her kids, and making addition and subtraction games for her 6 year old to learn math. For every game I made, the mom made me a 9X13 pan of lasagna. :grinning:


Bike, a red one with a long saddle.
I grew up with it, I’ve learned some mechanics, some physics and biology too (muscles, senses).
I’ve explored the neighborhood world and met friends. I’ve excersised and tested my esthetic abilities in customization. It was my riding-flying-floating device making noises and bringing me somewhere else, or giving someone else a ride.


First off, I love seeing everyone else’s Childhood Objects, but if I were to choose an object I would have to choose a hammer and nails. When I was a child I was always creating and building, and at a young age I discovered that you can build with a hammer and nails. Still to this day, my father has a piece of wood with some nails in it that says:

TO: Daddy
LOVE: Amber

I still remember building that and how that led me to engineering and electronics, building model cars and 3D Puzzles.


It would have to be the original “Big Wheel,” for me! A giant, plastic, self-propelled tricycle that was a wonder of transportation. The front pedals moved me forward and could also inspire me to skid to a stop in fabulous fashion! I quickly moved on to a bicycle and a skateboard! Both objects got me building multiple ramps and other adrenaline inducing obstacles. Trial and error and a more than a few bandaids. Thanks for inspiring this memory!



My childhood toy that I obsessed over were Transformers (More than meets the eye!) Long before the live-action franchise, I was always fascinated with how the parts worked together to create the vehicle or robot. I even designed several of my own (some of which strangely enough, became actual Transformers)



This is how I played :slight_smile:


My childhood memories go back a long way - before so many of the toys that are now commonplace. I remember the wonders of our Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, and wooden blocks of all colors, shapes and sizes. My brother and I discovered that we could build structures to hold tracks from a small train and then roll our grandfather’s “aggies” (large heavy stone marbles) down them to jump over spaces , knock things down, etc. I remember most how much fun it was to find objects in the “stuff” around us that were just the perfect things that we needed to keep expanding our construction.