Old school fun

Yesterday afternoon, while browsing at a small gift shop in the neighbourhood, I found this! One of my favourite childhood toys!

A childhood toy

A childhood toy

When I was 5, there were no iPads or computer games. After-school activities involved running outdoors, or playing with simple toys such as the one shown above.

Ok, I’ll admit that I had to google for the proper name. It’s known as a Spirograph. Here’s the description from Wikipedia:

A Spirograph is a geometric drawing toy that produces mathematical roulette curves of the variety technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids. It was developed by British engineer Denys Fisher and first sold in 1965.

Wow! Such a lot of technical terms associated with such a simple toy. Well, I learn something new everyday 🙂

Does anyone remember playing with the Spirograph when you were younger? I did. But I didn’t know its name back then. All I knew was that this stencil with little gears created wonderful patterns. I spent hours playing with it. It was almost magical, watching the amazing patterns appear on paper. I had almost forgotten what it was like back then.

I bought it for C, hoping that she would experience the same joy that I had when I was at her age.

“A stencil!” she exclaimed when I first showed her the little gift (I’m not sure where she learnt that word – she amazes me sometimes). I explained that it was not exactly a stencil, then proceeded to show her how a spirograph was used. She watched in amazement as the pattern emerged. “Oh! Mummy I know, it’s Spin art!” Haha, how apt!

C wanted to try it immediately. Here was her first attempt. Pretty decent, considering that it did take a little time to get the hang of it. “Mummy, it’s a bird nest, and those are a dragonfly’s wings”. Please ignore the background, we did it on scrap paper.

Pink bird nest (right) & dragonfly's wings (left)

Pink bird nest (right) & dragonfly’s wings (left)

She soon found out that by putting the pen through different positioned holes, different patterns were created.

Her third attempt at a more complicated pattern

Her third attempt at a more complicated pattern

Embellished spirographs

Embellished spirographs

Watching her marvel at the patterns, I’m once again reminded that it doesn’t take technology to encourage the wonder of a child. It would be interesting to incorporate the spirograph into a maths lesson some day, but for now, the geometry lesson can wait.

What was your favourite childhood toy?


20 thoughts on “Old school fun

  1. daddystractor

    I loved these as a kid! We had pens with several colors and they were perfect for whiling away the hours! That and the fashion plates you mixed and matched and then did crayon rubbings over to make the outfit show up… *Sigh* Oh the memories!

    1. mummyshymz Post author

      Oh yes! The fashion plates! I had them too – they were all the rage back then. My mom kept all my toys… They may still be hidden somewhere in the storeroom.

  2. Valerie

    We had one of these too! I would sit there absolutely mesmorized by the patterns that emerged! I also loved our kleidoscope (sp?) where you look through the tube with colors that change at the end? And also the Lite Brite! LOVED that one!! 😀 I’m glad your daughter enjoyed a “vintage” toy. 😉

    1. mummyshymz Post author

      Ooh kaleidoscopes! I still have them! There’s a photo of me clutching on tightly to my precious kaleidoscope in one of the albums. Lol. We didn’t have lite brite here – I googled it and it looks like a really cool toy! I think I’m going to get it for C & G.
      Talking about “vintage”- I told C that I played with it too. She looked at me and said that I was too old to play with toys :/

  3. lakenormanprep

    I loved these too! I spent HOURS making cards and pictures with mine! I found one for my kids but they haven’t been as excited about it as I was. They bring it out at times. I think I will bring it out tomorrow! Thanks for the wonderful memory.

  4. BeWithUs

    Aww…those were the days and I can still remember how fascinated I was by this thingy when I first saw the sellers doing their demos on papers…love it…Thanks for sharing…Cheers!! 😀


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