This is a great question. Personally, looking back on my childhood I can't remember a single "gears"-like experience that jumps to mind to write about. (I think I can/will come up with some things... but I have more to say about my later experiences.)
Later on, I did have a more significant kind of learning experience through the process of reflecting back on past memories and other contents of my mind and environment (books, past writings, ongoing interaction with the world.)
That has been my "gears" experience. And, it's hard to depict, since it doesn't come down to a single object, but connections in my mind. I can show some steps in the process, like visual layouts of items, pages full of random words, videos of me talking through ideas and making connections in a free-form manner... but none of those by themselves really sums it up, or is as specific as a single object.
I'm curious what others' experiences are, as well. And I'm interested in the question, for people who are more "metacognitively" inclined, and prefer thinking in holistic, abstract, connectivist ways, how more meaningful learning might be facilitated earlier on in life... when "school" is usually in the form of compartmentalized subjects, and the vast expanse of information and connections online is often very fragmented before one develops a good inner map for making sense of it.