One of the most useful tools for designers and artists is a spirograph. This drawing toy has been helping a lot of artists and designers come up with fantastic geometric designs that would otherwise be difficult or too tedious to complete if not for this ordinary-looking disk-shape tool. Technically, the spirograph is a device that is primarily used in the production of mathematical roulette curves particularly those known as epitrochoids and hypotrochoids. The original spirograph was invented by Bruno Abakanowicz between the years 1881 and 1900 and was initially used to calculate areas that are delimited by curves. Over the years, gears-based toys have been integrated in the design and manufacture of drawing toys finally culminating in the design and production of the Spirograph that we all know today in 1965 by Denys Fisher, a British engineer. Today, when we talk of spirograph, there can only be one original. And this is the focus of this review.
The Spirograph Deluxe Design Set
True to its original design, the Spirograph Deluxe Design Set comes complete with all the different disks, wheels, and rings you can ever get to produce stunning geometric shapes, designs, and patterns. The set comes with the original’s highly unique interlocking wheels and gears enabling anyone who has good fine motor control of both hands to draw super elegant and very stylish spiraling design. All of the pieces that are included in the kit have remained true to the design of the original 1965 Fisher design.
One of the distinctive features of the Deluxe Design Set is the inclusion of new geometric shapes that have never been seen before. Whereas the original design were more on the circular gear type design, the Deluxe set now comes with irregular yet equally fabulous shapes such as teardrops, stars, and even hearts as well as 9 other unique designs that are guaranteed to bring out the creativity in everyone who uses it, especially kids who may have a knack for the arts. The inclusion of additional new shapes can be considered a substantial departure from the traditional circular disk shape design of the gears and wheels. However, this should not be taken as a sign that the company, Kahootz Toys, is already abandoning its commitment to continue with the classic original designs. Far from it, Kahootz Toys is simply expanding on the versatility of the Spirograph Deluxe Design Set by providing the correct tools that will appeal more to the modern generation. The original designs are for the older generations of artists and designers including engineers and mathematicians. The more contemporary designs are intended for today’s generation of young artists and designers who may find circular disks to be particularly boring. Unusual shapes should provide the necessary motivation for them to create something new, something wonderful.
The Spirograph Deluxe Design Set is also engineered for backwards compatibility. If you already have the original spirograph sets since 1965, you can still use these in combination with the pieces on the Deluxe set. This is also largely compatible with other Kahootz Toys Original Spirograph sets like the Cyclex Kit, the Design Tin Set, and the Super Spirograph Set. At any rate, the Deluxe Set will only expand the creative capabilities of kids who will be using them as well as anybody else who will turn to these mathematical devices for a variety of design purposes.
The Spirograph Deluxe Design Set comes with 19 wheels and 2 rings as well as a rack and spiro-putty. Also included in the package is a very detailed 14-page instructional guide book to help budding artists create fabulous artwork using a combination of different wheels and rings. Three design markers in different colors have also been included as well as 2 pads of 24-page drawing book for your kids to really make a collection of his or her fabulous creations. All of these are stored in one convenient carry and storage box.
The downside? It’s made in China. Well, Kahootz Toys is an American toy company based in the city of Ann Arbor in Michigan. Unfortunately, product reviews reveal that the Spirograph Deluxe Design Set is actually manufactured in China. We cannot really guarantee the quality craftsmanship of items coming from China. We have also seen several comments including those who have owned the Original 1965 Spirograph saying that the quality of the disks, gears, and wheels has substantially decreased over the years. Hopefully, this has nothing to do with the original Denys Fisher company creation’s relaunch by Kahootz Toys in 2013.
What It Can Do for Your Kids
The Spirograph Deluxe Design Set is a fantastic tool as can be discerned from its more than 120 years of use as a mathematical device and as an integral component of drawing toys. While it was only in 1965 that it became commercially available as a drawing toy, the Original Spirograph has been helping many generations of kids with a host of their developmental needs. Here are some of them.
- It fosters creativity.
While the Spirograph Deluxe Design Set already comes with a fully detailed instructional guide book, once kids have mastered the principles and the basics of using a variety of disk and gear or wheel combinations, then they will be able to create stunning works of art even without such guides. Creativity is innate. It cannot really be taught. It is closely related to one’s ability to imagine things. The good thing is that there are ways in which creativity can be enhanced. Using the spirograph is one of them. The spirograph as a tool can greatly improve children’s creativity. When they see their creations they will be more than motivated to look for other ways in which other designs and styles of geometric patterns can be made.
- It helps provide mastery of fine motor skills.
Using the spirograph requires control of the muscles of the hands. One hand will be holding onto the drawing marker or any other instrument while the other will have to hold the spirograph itself. The muscles involved in such movements or actions are the smaller groups of muscles. When these muscles are fully trained, it lays down the foundation for other motor movements which will be important in later life such as writing, typing, and even sketching or drawing.
- It boosts visual motor coordination.
Coordinating what the eyes see and how the muscles move is an important function of the brain. Everything happens in an instant. When kids begin to draw circles or ellipses using the spirograph, visual cues are sent to the brain for integration and for processing. Within a fraction of a millisecond, the brain sends electrical signals to the muscles of the hand to change the pressure on the drawing marker, modify the angle of the drawing instrument, or even stop the drawing altogether. All of these occur in a flash that we are not actually even aware of it. This training for the brain greatly improves the communication between the sensory neural network and the motor neurons of the body’s nervous system. This can have a significant impact in other aspects of the kid’s life.
- It promotes positive self-concept.
Being able to create something is largely rewarding. For children, this gives them a sense of fulfillment which will fuel their belief in their capabilities. This fosters the growth of self-confidence which can lead to the development of a more positive idea about the self. Since many of today’s social ills are largely grounded on chronic low self-esteem, kids who are able to develop a positive self-concept have a better chance of promoting healthier and more positive self-concept.
- Boosts understanding of concepts in mathematics.
True to its original design, the spirograph can teach kids some of the basic principles of mathematics especially those related to geometry. This can then pave the way to a much greater understanding of other mathematical principles as well as the possibility of opening the doors to the engineering sciences. In the modern world, engineers are often at the forefront of revolutionary technology all dedicated towards advancing the quality of life of everyone in the planet. By letting kids play with the spirograph, they are slowly introduced to important concepts that may see them rebuilding their world in the future.
The Bottom Line
The Spirograph Deluxe Design Set is a marvelous tool not only for budding mathematicians and aspiring engineers but also for ordinary kids who simply want the best tool to help them express their full creativity. While the Spirograph Deluxe Design Set comes with all-new fascinating and truly awesome styles of disks, gears, and wheels, Kahootz Toys has not forgotten the elegance and usefulness of the classic design. We can thus, say that the Spirograph Deluxe Design Set is a successful marriage between the classic designs of old and the contemporary styles of modern times.