[Week 1 Activity] Childhood objects


My childhood object is solo-test. I am pretty good using it.


It’s not exactly an “object”, but the Seymour Papert article reminded me of the way I used to walk on sidewalks as a kid.

I would start with my foot right over a crack, and then take steps of uniform length, and count how many steps I’d have to take before I once again stepped right over a crack. If the cracks in the sidewalk were uniform rectangular slabs, then I ended up doing a sort of ratio problem. I explored diagonals and flagstone patterns too.

Lots of mathematics, from fractions and multiplication tables to number theory and group theory, came really easy in school and college because I had puzzled out a lot of it walking on the pavement.


I have the luck to have a brother who’s just two years older than me. Because of this, we’ve grown up together and we’ve played together a lot during my childhood. The best memories I have and the most dinstict one are connected to our free games, the fantasy ones. We often pretended to be to friends, wandering around the world, facing new and exciting dangerous situations, solving problems or simply living our travels. One of the tools that we used the most during our adventures was a blanket, always ready to create a shelter for us. Apart from the blanket, we used to build houses with cardboard, places that have witnessed my first attempts to relate to the world’s problem, real life, discoveries.


Ciao a tutti, anche se un pò in ritardo.
Sono due i giochi a cui mi sono appassionata. Il primo, anche se ero scarsa, è stata una scatola di mattoncini Lego
mattoncini Lego

il secondo, invece, ha dato sfogo alla fantasia. Era uno dei primi visore della Kodak con dischi di diapositive che ritraevano paesaggi di tutto il mondo.
visore con dischi di diapositive

Attualmente sto utilizzando Scratch, per me è la prima volta, in una seconda media con risultati confortanti.
Inizialmente l’ho utilizzato per creare animazioni fantastiche, poi per semplici esercizi di geometria.
Non vi nascondo che sono aiutata da un’esperta informatica che mi guida anche nel linguaggio più appropriato.


Hello to all
Ive been thinking very seriously about my childhood object and of all childhood objects I deal with I was very fond of a circular slide ruler that I bougt when I was thirteen, (I am talking 1973). I was really impressed how this little toy could be used for nearly all type of calculations and I was very fond of it because it was beautiful, it was circular and my other peers had a linear slide rule. I spend hours and hours making calculations, and comparing with my friends the accuracy of them, also I began to understand the importance of approximations as my slide ruler didnt calculate exact magnitudes. As Papert comments in his paper I tried to reduce all my knowledge or at least my mathematical knowledege to this small device. Later on I received a small calculator and began to play making calculations with my slide ruler and comparing my result to the exact one given by the calculator.
This was the beginning, I think, of my fondness with mathematics, later on I became a Computer Scientist and a Mathematician.


My father was an engineer, so growing up, he would bring large rolls of paper home for us to use. So one of my memories is drawing, cutting, and using that paper. It was a staple in our house during our play time. At the same time, I was never drawn to art – more to music. One object or toy that I also remember playing with as I got a little older was a toy microphone. I loved singing into it. On that same note, I remember plunking out songs on the piano at an aunt’s house, creating my own tune. It wasn’t long after that when my family invested in a piano, and I started taking lessons.

Reflecting on these experiences, I never felt very creative. I definitely wasn’t focussed on art. However, music was one way I was creative. But when I look at the piano lessons I took, I’m not sure if they helped me be creative. Perhaps they gave me the foundation I needed. I loved to sing, and I still love to create music with a choir, but I wish I had tried to make more of MY own music–my own creations. I’m proud of my daughter for doing this with her own bass playing and being part of a band. I wonder why I never tried to create more music. Just too busy with other pursuits (like school work). Seems a lot like my life today. Just a few of my rambling thoughts.


I loved my Atari 2600. But to be truthful all always dreamed of owning an Apple ][. Good memories!


That’s great you enjoy, and 1000 paper cranes must have beens so beautiful!! I am curious what “modular origami figures” are like. Are they parts that can come together? We have all kinds of tutorials for Origami, and many flowers require more than one origamis. Or Ninja Shuriken was my kids’ favorite items.


Hi Siyi, that looks beautiful! I have not personally tried to make cranes with other materials, but paper playdough maybe a good material (if not having to fold them). I admire your trial & error with so many materials!! I should try!


My important childhood object was clearly the Lego bricks. I played with them for hours, creating and re-creating things and stories. I especially liked cars and trucks. I started following the instructions. Then I tried to invent my own.
I still try to ignite this passion to young people I work with.
Thank you for reading.


Week 1 - Childhood Objects

When growing up my first obsession with a TV program was “The Six Million Dollar Man”. I didn’t have to watch anything else but each week this was a must view. I had a special routine. We had a tv but it was black and white. My Nana rented a colour tv and she lived across the road. So each week my mum would make my dinner at the usual time and I would wrap it up and carry over to my Nanas to eat and wait for the next episode of my beloved Six Million Dollar Man.

Looking at it now I can see why I was so drawn to it. The main character was an astronaut, Colonel Steve Austin. Add to this he has been rebuilt with super strong robotic arms, legs and an electronic eye that is somehow all integrated into a human body by the incredible Dr Rudy Wells. It was quite a mash of technology, engineering and neuroscience.

Not surprisingly I had to have the Steve Austin action figure when it came out. One of my prized childhood objects for sure! The arm had skin that rolled back to expose the bionics and then you could plug the arm into a diagnostic machine. The arm was also mechanical, if you turned his head and pumped his arm up and down it would lift a toy engine. That wasn’t all by put his head up to your face you could look through his bionic eye! To top that off he came with a great red tracksuit. I had often wondered where my obsession for wearing tracksuits had come from later in life. SNAP!

We shouldn’t underestimate the impact of popular culture on young children. Shaping their worldviews and igniting their passions.

Me as the Six Million Dollar Man.
Next to my Mum and sister who are looking like normal people.
The action figure.


My favourite childhood object was encyclopedia. I enjoyed reading encyclopedia and realized that life is full of fun. There are animals in the forest and sea creatures and they are unique, colourful and beautiful. I realized there are stars, planets and many more. I appreciated the world we live in. I loved animals and wanted to know more about them. I realized life is more than books and people we see. There are many other things that I did not know.



In my childhood I liked to play with flowers.


Wooden blocks were my favorite childhood objects. My set came with a plastic town mat. I spent hours, buidling various structures for my pretend town. Once my town was set, I would play pretend and imagine it come alive with people and city sounds. This daily process of building and tearing down my imaginary towns, helped me realize there is always an opportunity to rebuild, make improvements, and come up with different scenarios.


LEGO - my sister and I each had a basic LEGO kit…nothing fancy…but we would have hours and hours of fun create herds of deer, yes herds of deer! We would create intricate stories around these deer families that we built. I guess it was our ‘child’ minds unpacking the social world around us, and the teacher in me says we learnt to be creative, use fine motor skills, learned to cooperate and collaborate… but the child in me say we were just having fun! I’ve loved reading about everyone else’s childhood objects - they brought back lots memories…spirographs, how to draw books, the view master. Another thing my sister and I loved was plastic dinosaurs…we collected them and again created intricate stories in the garden on hot summer days!


I thought of the C64 and Basic as a programming language as well, so it can’t be a coincedence that the first answer I read in this discussion is yours…


It had to be the Commodore 64 and its Basis programming language. I remember sitting at the table at my grandma’s house, my first computer connected to her television. I loved this simple language called Basic which gave me the opportunity to make EVERYTHING! Later on in my life I studied Mathematics and became a math teacher. Almost ervery week I think of that basic programming language to help me structure my thoughts in solving problems. I think in loops and if-then structures :wink: It also helps me to understand new programming languages.


My childhood object was a home chemistry set. I mixed materials, heating glass tubes over a meths burner to make pipets and managed not to poison myself or burn down the house.

Really it gave me a means to explore my play, in my own terms without being dictated by the conventions of a traditional childs toy.


I discovered my parents kept this set from my childhood (almost 30 years prior) to hand onto my own kids when they were old enough.


La bicicleta, no solo montarla de paseo, sino darle mantenimiento armarla desarmarla, repararla ajustarla y luego llevarla a realizar trucos y hacer saltos de rampa y conseguir la mayor altura, hacer todo eso me hizo aprender a utilizar herramientas, sobre mantenimiento preventivo y trabajar con calidad, pero sobre todo el tomar riesgos para lso trucos y probar nuevos retos, aprendiendo a equivocarse, cayendo en cada intento, pero levantandome para interntarlo de nuevo, pero lo mas valioso es que las dos ruedas, con esfuerzo, te llevan tan lejos como te atrevas a llegar.