I have always loved Spirographs! As a kid, it was one of my favorite toys. I would sit for hours playing with it. So I decided to get myself one! I'd seen a set at Barnes and Noble one day but hadn't bought it then. I went back and got it the day after the show. Sadly, disappointingly, it just wasn't any good. Darn! There were too few gears, no pins, no pens, nada, nothin'! I took it back. I looked online to see what was up. Apparently I'm not the only fan! On eBay and Amazon.com I found lots of comments about various versions of Spirograph and found that only the original Spirograph is super-cool. Eventually Kenner had to use magnets rather than pins to hold the wheels in place - so toddlers don't swallow the pins, I guess - and other modifications that took away from the super-cool factor. I looked through what was available. Sticker shock kicked in immediately. $75 was a cheap one! Yikes! I didn't do anything for a couple of days then I decided it was worth it to me, so I held my breath and ordered one. I figured it was about the cost of a really nice dinner on the town with Chris, and I'd enjoy this for a lot longer!
And boy, have I! I've already spent 10-12 hours playing! There's an instruction booklet that comes with it to show different patterns a person can make. As an adult I can appreciate the complexity of the mathematics involved in it. I do not remember understanding anything about it as a kid. I'm pretty sure I didn't look at the booklet - I think I just dove in and played. What I'm learning is that there are ways to line up the wheels inside the larger wheels to make the patterns vary. There are so many possibilities! I decided to take a very nerdy approach to it and am going through everything systematically to figure out which wheels do what.
Here are a couple of designs I did following the instructions in the booklet. I went inside the wheel and outside the wheel and used several different gears on the left hand one. The right hand one is using the elongated bar, believe it or not!, and turning it 45 degrees each time with each different color.
Now I want to figure out how to make the designs larger. I think I'm limited by how large the plastic wheels are. I wonder if there are other things I can use for wheels to make these designs. I can't think of anything, but I figure a trip to the hardware store is in order to see what they might have there. You never know!
It's delightful giving myself permission to play like I have been lately. It makes me feel so happy. I feel like the luckiest woman on earth. I get to do what a love for a living. I get to teach people who are excited about learning to do what I love to do. And I get to play all day, asking, "I wonder what would happen if I..." then find out! What a life!!