Monday, January 14, 2008

Small steps

The Richter Ankerstein "Kleine Gernegross" set is about as small as I can get in satisfying block play, so as a small step toward getting more active here, it seems like a good start.

This is a rare example of my building not from a printed design, but rather by simply being inspired by a design sheet (image background) from a quite different wooden block set.

I actually built the middle section first, removed my first effort at the campanile on top, lifted the middle onto a new lower section, then completed the new campanile seen here. As in some earlier efforts, the tapered peak is a modified fishing weight of my own, not part of the KG set.

A while back a reader posted a comment questioning whether the Kleine Gernegross set was suitable for children. I agree that it is not suitable for younger children, but it may be suitable for older children and for adults on the autistic spectrum who play with children's toys for therapy and relaxation - providing small motor skills can cope. Doing Froebel Gift #3 constructions with eight ordinary dice would be a good test -- KG set constructing is easier, due to the better surface texture and better edge shapes than typical dice.

As a developmentally disabled adult, I get confused sometimes as to how the child & adult abilities and interests mix, so sometimes will recommend something thinking of my adult autistic spectrum friends, forgetting that this blog is also read by parents of both autistic spectrum and neurotypical children. When using any source, parents should be thinking in terms of their specific child's strengths and weaknesses. Here especially. I apologize for troubles caused.

I apologize also for my long absence. It seems to be partly seasonal, since I did something similar the year before, but this year it was aggravated by a series of losses that all but eliminated our parents' generation from my wife's and my families.

On a happier note, quite a few purchases were made through my Amazon store, netting me some earnings that I will well appreciate in coming weeks -- not a large amount of money, but a nice supplement to the allowance I get out of my disability check. Thank you to all. :)

I hope to be back more regularly to share good block play.


releppes said...

Hello Alan,

I'd like to rescind the comment I made earlier about the Gernegross set. Since my previous posts, I've had the opportunity to play with both the Heinzelmannchen and Gernegross sets, and I like them both. I agree that having a smaller set is refreshing when you want to stick with simplicity. I have a set #6 and #6a, but since the arrival of my Heinzelmannchen set, I've not done any larger constructions for a while. It's mostly been a time constraint. I do find the Gernegross set too small to work with at times, but if I stick with 2 dimensional models, it's much easier to work with. The Heinzelmannchen set is very similar to the Gernegross set. The block colors are a little different and the Heinzelmannchen set includes 4 extra #21 stones. Even with those slight differences, I find the models I make with both sets to be very different.

The Gernegross set, although very small, is quite amusing when time is short and space is limited. I use a coffee coaster (cork side up) as my building platform. The models are simple but satisfying.

BTW: I said earlier that I thought the Gernegross set would be too small for children to play with. This appears NOT to be the case. My 5yr daughter and 3yr son both enjoy playing with this set. The blocks can be a choking hazard, but neither of my kids have taken to eating them. As far as dexterity, they seem to handle the blocks quite well. I find the larger blocks easier to work with, but the smaller caliper set works out just as well. I play with my Gernegross set just as much as the Heinzelmannchen set. I like them both.

releppes said...


I've recently created a PDF document of several Gernegross and Heinzelmannchen designs. If interested, let me know. Each document is a single 8.5x11 color page of about 20 models each.

Alan said...

I would be delighted to see your pdf file

Please send to:

Thank you

releppes said...

I just sent you the Gernegross and Heinzelmannchen PDF files. Let me know what you think.