Childhood Objects

This week in the Learning Creative Learning (LCL) course one of the tasks is to “Read Seymour Papert’s essay on the Gears of My Childhood and write about an object from your childhood that interested and influenced you”.  I have been struggling for awhile to come up with something to write about.  As a child I played with Lego and I had a wonderful furnished house for my Barbie dolls but neither of these objects affected me in the profound way that Seymour Papert’s gears did.  Then, as I sat down to write this post I realized that what I needed to write about was my Tickle Trunk.

Mr. Dressup

Google Canada Doodle honouring what would have been Ernie Coombs' aka Mr. Dressup's 85th birthday.

If you are a Canadian of a certain age, then you know what a Tickle Trunk is.  Mr. Dressup, a television show for young children, featured Mr. Dressup and his Tickle Trunk.  In the Tickle Trunk were all manner of dress up clothes and props.

When I was a kid my sister and I had a trunk full of dress up clothes, we didn’t actually call it our Tickle Trunk, but that is what it was.  We would get dressed up and play make believe games.  A lot of times we would hang some of the dress up clothing along the edge of a table making fabric walls for our newly created forts.  We spent a lot of time creating and imagining.  I can’t say that the experience helped me to understand mathematical concepts as Papert’s gears did, but I think that it allowed me to practice problem solving.  The role playing also allowed me to become more empathetic; I find myself often trying to view things from another person’s perspective.  But it wasn’t just the items in the Tickle Trunk that were important, it was having another imaginative child–my sister–to play and create with too.

Is there an object from your childhood that strongly interested or influenced you?  Let me know in the comments!

2 comments to Childhood Objects

  • Rachel Boyce

    Hi Claire! Saw your post in #lcl-gears. When I read Papert’s essay I also immediately thought of games of dress-up and it made me wonder why one couldn’t connect games of imagination with science and math. I think it might be a matter of framing the subjects differently, and making the curriculum more open-ended and creative. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rachel, thanks for commenting! I don’t know why it took me so long to see games of dress-up as being equivalent to Papert’s gears. It was only as I started writing this post that it came to me. I agree with you about trying to connect games of imagination with science and math; many of the great advances in both realms have relied upon people with wonderful imaginations.
      Cheers!