Last year, I was cleaning out a deeply cluttered cabinet when I found treasure in the form of a classic creative toy. The Spirograph is creative toy from my childhood that is still being made today. I wanted to introduce the Spirograph to the children and see what they would create.

I always wonder as children grow up in our modern tech based society if they would enjoy creating with a simple toy like a Spirograph. During one of our work periods I placed the Spirograph templates, paper, and colorful pencils on the table. 

A few children recognized the toy and decided to create. Other children asked what it was and how to use it. The children explored the materials experimenting with the spirograph tools, the possibilities of the tools, and then created their own unique designs. After making their designs the children had another idea.

Much of the initial work was experimenting with the Spirograph’s different rotating templates to learn what designs were possible. There was much discussion and discovery that was shared between the children. The collaboration was accelerating the learning curve for the group. After the children created some Spirograph drawings they decided to create frames for their work.

In our collection of materials we have patterned paper used for scrapbooking. The children thought the patterned scrapbooking paper would be a good choice to create and glue a frame around their finished work.

Given some basic tools and techniques, children have the drive and desire to create new work employing new and existing skills as their guide. Our role as a co-learner is to share some of the lessons we have learned to help the children of the present create the work of the future. Children love to learn new techniques, investigate new tools, and the challenge of creating new work through an open process of trial and error.

What classic toys or techniques in your program have become new again as the children revisit or discover them for the first time?