There a few things that I have tried to get my kids into because it was something that was a great memory for me when I was a kid. My husband does this with movies, and seeing my kids’ less than impressed faces after he sat them down to watch The Dark Crystal, I’ve learned that these kids definitely might have different tastes.
Spirograph is one of those things I’ve tried to push onto my girls. I’ve bought various Spirograph kits for my daughters for years. The travel version, the little tin, Spirograph Deluxe Set (affiliate link), and I’m always shaking my head that they don’t love it. I’m pretty sure that my girls never had fun with it, even for a minute, even my pen went around and around making pretty designs. Accessorizing the Spirograph with scented gel pens and glittery card stock couldn’t even draw out inspired enjoyment.
Maybe it’s because the new sets include poster gum for holding the rings in place. No more pins!
Last month, we cleaned out my oldest daughter’s closet and found the hardly touched Spirograph Deluxe Set, the other sets have all probably been passed along to Sarah at some point! We moved it from my daughter’s bedroom to the downstairs toy closet in my last ditch hope that someone might see it and use it a few times.
Lo and behold, that hope panned out. My seven year old son loves to spirograph! He’s used it at least a couple times per week for the past month. Not only is he having fun making creations, but this morning he was saying that he was figuring out how it worked, and I was over the moon that we not only shared a joy of the spirograph, but also the math behind it. Like the guy who remembers the statistics of favorite sports teams, he’s starting to remember and recite the wheel number and hole of his favorite designs.
Spirograph is amazing for folks like me with very little true artistic drawing talent. We can create beautiful things in paper. As an engineer and “neat freak,” the clean lines and symmetry are very pleasing. There is some amount of coordination skill and challenge to keep things right and moving along in the geared path without the pen skipping or slipping. You can attempt to use mathematical spacial planning if you are trying to make something look a certain way, but you don’t need to do that because the surprise of what comes out is just as fun. The math behind it is fascinating – can you predict how many points the curve will have, how many revolutions before closing/completing the design? And all of those wonderful things can happen in a short time commitment of less than a minute with beautiful results. The end results are tiny mandalas that you could color when you are finished to add something extra if you are into coloring, and if you are into mathematics write a PhD theses on finding the equation for the patterns.
One of the major inspirations for creating Two Clever Moms was that a lot of the best arts and craft kits are created for girls and we wanted to share more crafts with our boys. I was thinking Spirograph may go over well if you are looking for a craft gift idea for either gender.
I also wanted to share that I made the most perfect Spirograph design this morning. BOOM!