Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Secret Codes Anyone?

Tornado Boy is very intrigued by secret codes and how you can mess around with numbers. Awhile back, he came up with a game that he was Willy Wonka and his playroom was the chocolate factory and he had daddy help draw out a picture of a keyboard with all the numbers on it. When he wanted to go into his playroom, he "entered" the secret code onto his keyboard paper (that was taped to the front of the door) and he was "allowed" to enter. Of course the secret code was only for him and daddy...no mommys allowed. I can recall many, many games that involved using a secret code of some kind. He likes seeing books or papers that have a special code on it and you have to use a code sheet to decipher it. I think this love of "codes" or unusual ways of labeling things began way back. When he was 4, he noticed that some clocks had "weird numbers" on them and when we explained that those were Roman Numerals he instantly wanted to learn what all the symbols were and what numbers went with each symbol. Same goes for daddy's Scientific calculator. He LOVED exploring calculators. When most kids start to get bored, the parents pull out some kind of toy out of their purse....well our toy was the calculator. We have gone through 2 calculators that I know of just because the numbers were rubbed off from so much exploring and use. On daddy's scientific calculator he noticed all the unusual keys and he was given an impromptu introduction about binary numbers and complex numbers and he was completely fascinated that there was a whole world out there involving things other than the "normal" number system.

Last week, I noticed that Tornado Boy had a pretty quiet day and had started to bounce off the walls a bit by late afternoon. Not enough sensory input for his SPD....so I got a little creative and took his old Thomas Train table and flipped the top over, used an oversized storage bin and dumped some play sand we had into the bin and viola...instant sand box. I gave him some of his sand toys and a collection of tiny plastic cups and he very happily fed his sensory input need by digging in the sand. Daddy came home and stayed outside with Tornado boy while I started dinner. Things got very quiet.....hmmmmmm....a little leery, I peeked my head out the garage door and was totally mystified by what they were doing.

Secret Codes strike again.....Tornado boy had worked out some kind of secret code language and had daddy write it out in the sand and according to what code was written, it let him know how many small plastic cups of sand to fill for daddy's sand "order". Daddy ran with the whole idea and the two of them came up with a seriously complicated code system. I had NO idea what any of it meant and when I asked, Tornado boy looked at me so matter of factly and explained what each part of the secret code meant. Daddy would write his sand order down in code and Tornado boy had to decipher it and make the sand order. I was honestly blown away with the complexity of their game and he completely understood every aspect of it! In the picture you will see the code before it evolved to a more complex one....the first number - 6 means how many plastic cups to fill with sand, the second one - R means regular (or S for stacked) - regular meant the cups were "delivered" individually, stacked meant that they were "delivered" by stacking the cups on top of each other, the third one - O with a line over it, lets him know to over fill each cup with sand...if the O had a line right at the top that meant to level the sand off at the top of the cup, if it had a line in the middle of the O that meant half a cup of sand (and you could not "order" stacked delivery with the over-filled method - those are the rules)....the last one - G meant Grind (and N for no grind) and basically meant Tornado boy pretended to grind the sand with his hands. Daddy informed me that it grew more and more complex and involved other codes like T for delivery by train, B for delivery by boat amongst other special order descriptions.

They sat and played that game for almost 2 hours and Tornado boy had to be pulled away crying when it came time to come in for dinner. Who knows...future work at the CIA? FBI? Nah....just a very happy, very smart little boy who loves to mess around with symbols and numbers and keep what he is doing a secret!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing. While I live with and know 2e...that's amazing. :)