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This is for both CNC and general woodworkers. Looking for suggestions, ideas, thoughts, about making devices that teach children basic concepts. Interested in contributing ideas? Read on for background and details.

I worked for decades with optometrists who do something called vision therapy. My main interest has been looking at how it trains attention, and helps build the ability to develop and internalize concepts. For example, my first job was at North American Aviation in a plant that built the Apollo. Again and again, I saw engineering drawings in which the object was really a form of a table...Leg or support, flat top, sometimes a thick top with a hole in it for a bolt, but still a table.

I worked with a couple of engineers who kept using a table type structure to build their inventions. I still have the nested tables I grew up with (antiques now, like me), and realize they formed the concept of table-ness for me. But children today don't do stuff and touch and see, and imagine as we did in the past. So they suffer a dirth of concepts, which impedes their ability to invent. Not all children mind you, but for some, a handicap.

So I've been thinking of some therapy activities that would implant concepts and the ability to visualize and use them. Think of all the inventions and ideas that arrived from visualizations and even dreams--a form of visualization. Visualizing something that does not yet exist, is often based on simple concepts extended into new arenas.

This string has me thinking about a gear board with a simple crank on a gear that the child turns, and a series of various sized and placed gears that move with the first. You would have direction and speed changes, and the activity would be to have the child observe, then predict, then explain all the different speeds and directions of movement.

Is anyone interested in making something like this? If so, I will work on making it available as an advanced therapy device. Have no idea what it would cost, but make via CNC, it would be made in batches. I could probably get a doctor to endorse it and make presentations based on the device, and the idea of concept formation.

I would also be interested in any other basic concepts and ideas on some physical, wood, device to make the concept stick. Something you see, inspect carefully, play with, touch, will stick with you for life. Maybe we could even sell this to science teachers in schools (this already happens with some devices), and it would be a high end item. I definitely see Montessori type schools wanting a kit like this.

I'm going to post this as a separate string, so even non CNC folks can give it a read, think about and make suggestions. I believe this would be something of a revolution in education, where everything is ephemeral, theoretical, read about instead of do.

Any suggestions will be appreciated. This is a pretty ingenious bunch.
 

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Doug
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https://www.routerforums.com/kp91s-gallery/114457-gears-gears-gears.html#post1569561

Tom,

When I made this gear wall, the gears were all sized with a compatible tooth profile so that they could be used anywhere in the gear train. The trick for coming up with a gear table for kids to use is figuring out how to ensure the gears will be spaced properly for a correct mesh. Since yours is most likely going to be much smaller than mine.... you could go with magnetic bases?

There are a handful of 'virtual' gear toys available on tablets and phones, might be a good prototype solution, see how kids interact with it.

KIDS LOVE GEARS... I wanted to get rid of the gear wall at church after VBS was over, but the kids protested so much that we found a place for it in a classroom. It wasn't designed for constant use, so it's had to have a few repairs, but they love it.
 

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If I could think of something I would be more than happy to share it. But don't know as I ever will. A year ago, and earlier, my 10 yo grandson was making little 2-3" tall figures, with clay. They were very detailed, and equal to any similar adult work I have seen. The problem is, he got to playing video games, not only stupid video games, but he doesn't even play them right. I would be delighted if I could get him back to working with clay, even if just once in awhile. But not a clue how. Kid even eats in his room. Not a clue as to how to get him away from those video games. Can't even get him interested in reading. Sad.
 
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If I could think of something I would be more than happy to share it. But don't know as I ever will. A year ago, and earlier, my 10 yo grandson was making little 2-3" tall figures, with clay. They were very detailed, and equal to any similar adult work I have seen. The problem is, he got to playing video games, not only stupid video games, but he doesn't even play them right. I would be delighted if I could get him back to working with clay, even if just once in awhile. But not a clue how. Kid even eats in his room. Not a clue as to how to get him away from those video games. Can't even get him interested in reading. Sad.
I understand. They are designed to be addictive. Maybe his game machine could break? Sometimes they do, and pretty expensive to replace so he might have to do without for awile. What will he do in the mean time? Maybe play with clay, making figures for Christmas presents?
 

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If I could think of something I would be more than happy to share it. But don't know as I ever will. A year ago, and earlier, my 10 yo grandson was making little 2-3" tall figures, with clay. They were very detailed, and equal to any similar adult work I have seen. The problem is, he got to playing video games, not only stupid video games, but he doesn't even play them right. I would be delighted if I could get him back to working with clay, even if just once in awhile. But not a clue how. Kid even eats in his room. Not a clue as to how to get him away from those video games. Can't even get him interested in reading. Sad.
When one of my grandsons was 10yo. he was like that. He didn't know how to peel a banana, or eat a piece of meat without stabbing it with his fork and holding it up and gnawing on it. But he could play the computer games for hours.
He Graduated from college last spring with a degree in archeology, computer science and Japanese language with a Rhodes scholarship to study in Japan for a year, so you just can't write them off, Theo.
Herb
 

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The kid is intelligent enough, but just interested in video games. If his player broke, likely he would then want to play on the big screen TV in the front room. Talk about irritating. Not sure how he is doing in school, but not counting on anything extreme. Hopefully he will change, one day. If he went back to making those small figurines he could make a decent income even now. And if he branched out to actual sculptures, he would likely have a good future in store. But I feel like I am just dreaming. His big sister was into drawing a few years back, then that took a back door, when she started college, now she is working full time, going to school on-line (will go back on campus later), and is working on starting a small business (don't know how that is going, but I have the feeling that if it doesn't work out, she will try again). His dad, and uncle, have both been PITA in the past, especially his dad, and now both have good jobs that pay well, but also involve a lot of work hours. Neither were schooled, just picked it up on the job (dad heating and air, uncle refrigeration), so he has the potential, but will he even try? Maybe I can give him something to get him started on actually doing something, will have to think on that. And, in the meantime, will suggest he make some clay figures for gifts. Never give up, but Gods above, this is frustrating.
 

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Mike
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Theo you could buy him a CNC machine!

It is computer-based so it would probably interest him. He would probably astonish you with his designs after he learns the software and how to run the machine. It could also get both of you in the shop together so you both could build memories and great projects together.
 

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Theo you could buy him a CNC machine!

Put the video games to use as to making items that
relate to them and sell to his friends etc, online.


I have to admit, trying to get them away from the
games is tough. That's what they like. Even if they do break
the controllers, they'll blow fits if they dont get their way.


I think theres GameInformer magazine that might get them
to read during the in between times. hah!


When all else fails, pull the plug and get the cnc.
 

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Theo
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Theo you could buy him a CNC machine!

It is computer-based so it would probably interest him. He would probably astonish you with his designs after he learns the software and how to run the machine. It could also get both of you in the shop together so you both could build memories and great projects together.
Wow, they have Coffee N Cookie machines now?

No, it would not interest him. Because it would require thinking. In the games he plays he steals vehicles, runs over people, shoots people for no reason, if he is near any water he winds up driving into it. Tell you what tho, you buy him a CNC machine, and you spend time in the shop with him. I'll sit in the house building memories.
 

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Put the video games to use as to making items that relate to them and sell to his friends etc, online.

When all else fails, pull the plug and get the cnc.
The kid isn't going to make anything. And if he did sell anything, he'd use the cash to buy more stupid video games.

Ah, but I will not get a CNC, unless it is Coffee N Cookies. CNC machines will not have any part in my life, because they do not feed my soul.
 
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I'm not sure what you are looking for but wooden puzzle toys like the Tower of Hanoi cover the younger children as a stacking toy and then later can be used for them to develop think ahead thought processes. These can also be painted to teach colors and marked with numbers to teach basic counting. Take it one step farther and make each disk a different shape so they can also learn their basic shapes.

I know they are trying to incorporate more hands-on toys into the market. We have 2 great-granddaughters living with us, a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, and I got them a dog and a cat and a motorcycle and truck that they can take apart with screwdrivers and wrenches. It helps develop the older one's motor skills and has taught the younger one how to count the screws and hide them. So the older one will be ready to join the blue-collar workforce on an assembly line and the younger one will clearly hold a white-collar position shaving pennies off of manufacturing processes at a major corporation.
 

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I have to take inhalants twice a day, so play solitaire while doing that. Get some of my best ideas while doing it. Well, suddenly struck me as a possible answer to my grandson and his idiot video games. I have a small travel chess set, that I have had for years, and never even took out of the package - no one to play with anymore. I am going to give that to him, and tell him that chess is the original war game. Hope it takes, because then he will have to actually think, remember things, plan ahead, and I don't know what all else. I'll even print out a set of rules and moves for him. Don't know if it will take with him, but figure it is worth a shot. I used to play a lot of chess, especially while in Thailand. Never was great, altho did win a lighter in a military tournament in Germany. But win or lose, it is a great game. Yay solitaire. If this works, will either buy him a nice set, or make one for him.
 

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Possible success. Gave my grandson the small travel chess set, and printed instructions on Saturday. Told him it was the oldest war game on earth, and he seemed interested. Texted the son today and asked about it. He said that yes, the grandson is interested, and they are going to play together. Asked him to keep me advised, and that if the interest continues I'll buy a nice set, and a board, for them. I think it will be good for both of them, and certainly will relieve some of my stress also.
 
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