Kids should tinker with grown-up gadgets

Building on the previous post, when I was kid (and like many other boys), I’d disassemble and reassemble my parents’ grown-up gadgets. This would aggravate my parents. Because, after I reassembled them, they wouldn’t work anymore.

So they gave me Legos instead. Sometimes the Legos came with instructions and I learned to follow instructions. This wouldn’t take very long; the instructions were too easy.

I’d then just assemble Legos ala stream of conscious, creating all kinds of ridiculousness that made sense to me.

Small side story… I noticed something about how girls played with Legos. For some reason, when creating a wall, boys would somehow just know to interlace the bricks to make the wall stronger. Whereas girls would make walls by stacking bricks like columns. I’ve watched my present wife and youngest daughter do this. (Love you, Babe. Love you, Sweetie.)

Anyway, the upside with freestyling Legos consisted of lots of practice for a kid in expressing himself mechanically, spatially, visually. I can’t prove it, but I feel like it improved my spatial visualization.

The downside was, I made a lot of useless shit. Entertaining, but useless. Time that I could’ve spent on tinkering with products that people already use (i.e., grown-up gadgets), quite likely improving them.

The challenge is that this type of tinkering is expensive and probably unsafe for small children. Sure, it depends on the gizmo he’s tinkering with.

But how then does a child begin his 10,000 hours at something real-world productive if not by doing the real thing instead of playing with toys?