Simon is best friends with his little sis (who has just turned 6). He teaches her to make molecules
and she teaches him to play hopscotch
and to enjoy a walk in the evening
and to play together like kids do, including role-play (which Simon has finally mastered)
and he teaches her the tables of addition
and she teaches him to play outside
and he teaches her spatial orientation and more addition and subtraction with Magformers elements.
I often hear them say “I love you” to each other. Sometimes they talk about how things will be when they become old, really old. “I will probably die earlier than you,” – Simon said. “Because I’m two years older”. – “No, Simon, it doesn’t work that way”, – she answers. “Maybe not then. Maybe people won’t die anymore. Maybe there will be something left of me”.
We had a great Sunday visiting friends in The Netherlands whose kids resemble Simon in many ways. Simon made his signature bubble solution:
and learned about ray tracing in Java:
After I asked him that evening, what he loved most from the past weekend (that also involved sleeping over at grandparents’ house in Friesland), he said: trying to write code for 2048! I was surprised to hear that as I saw him do several projects in the course of the weekend but no “2048”. What is 2048? It turned out that, after he got tired of playing and snuggled with his laptop in the living room at our friends’ home, Simon tried to write his own code for a game he had played almost two years ago, involving the powers of 2. “It just got into my head!” he explained in the car on the way back. The video below is how far Simon got coding the game:
We went to see the wild hyacinths at a forest near Brussels yesterday. Although Simon did have his usual “I’m too tired to walk” moments and I even carried him on my shoulders a couple of times, I found it quite unusual to see how much pleasure he had picking a little flower bouquet and tenderly carrying it all the way, worried that the flowers are “unhappy” without water. “I’m going to sort them into several vases back home, Mom!” he said, touching the buttercup buds, “the babies”. I told him he was not allowed to pick the hyacinths, so it was mainly the dandelions he had in his hand.
He was also very curious about how the real camera works and made several nice photographs, almost properly focused. Another point of interest was the lifespan of trees and how one can calculate their age by counting the circles inside the tree trunk.
Back home from an adventurous trip to the Tirol Alps. Simon is excited to tell everyone about how our car got stuck deep in the snowy forest on the night of our arrival and how we had to wait for several hours while several locals, a tractor and an emergency car tried to pull us out. The panic that this encounter with the elements had caused him back when it happened has been replaced in his memory by the excitement and pride of having been through something special. This was also our first dangerous encounter with the AI and made us think about how much we rely on our brain extensions already. We trusted the navigation that confidently guided us to follow the mathematically shortest way across the mountain. As it turned out, it was a road in the summer, but not in the winter.
For the rest it was a beautiful week full of sleighing and, of course, programming.
Simon made a fantastic little game in scratch all by himself which can serve as a fun tool to train little children to use the mouse. You can find it in Simon’s shared projects at: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/131801799/
Here Neva acts as a guinea pig.
Click on the green flag to see the circle multiply in a variety of colours. The circles move towards the cursor. Click on the bottom blue rectangle to clear. Click on the top blue rectangle to clear and stop the program.
It was great fun as they compared the multiplying circles to the fairy-tale magic porridge pot that kept making porridge.
It’s great to see how Simon and Neva have been spending increasingly more time playing together. We even hear Simon suggest activities to her and come up with compromises when they don’t agree on something. He has been taking her feelings into account and generally displaying much better communication skills than before.
Building a railroad according to the drawing:
Teaching Neva how to use Scratch Jr.:
Cracking almonds and hazelnuts together: