Saturday, July 24, 2010

Instilling the Spirit of Innovation in your Kids!

It is important for children to have all the necessary academic skills in life. It is wonderful for them to be advanced as they will not be so hounded by having to "keep up" in school, but instead will have the time to learn how to use the concepts and skills taught to apply it in their daily lives. I believe in working hard and playing hard as well. Try to relate lessons taught about Math, English, Science and so on to things around them. Not only will this make them more interested in their subjects, but you are teaching them to connect things together. When your kids can strong concepts together, that's when they will become innovative and creative. So the BIG question then is "how do you do that?" Sometimes it's the simple activites that make everything seem so magical to kids in life. I remember when I was about 5, I was watching ice-skaters on TV. I thought the girls looked so beautiful in their sparkly dressers and loved how they glided and twirl so smoothly and easily. I couldn't go to the ice-skating rink but instead poured baby powder all over our living room floor and glided to my heart's content. My dad came home to a huge mess but instead of yelling at me, he just laughed and shook his head gently. I remember having the best time in my life and how cool baby powder was. In fact, it was so cool, that when we had to do an anti-smoking campaign skit in middle school, I rolled some paper up, closed the end with more paper and tape and used a needle to poke a hole through. Then we poured baby powder into the tube. When you puffed at it, "smoke" would come out like a real cigarette. Baby power was indeed magical!

So Lesson #1: Try NOT to yell at your kids when they make a huge mess or destruct something in your home. They were merely being imaginative and trying something new. Of course, if it is something dangerous, gently explain to them why they shouldn't try that again. But at the same time, it may be fun to ask them why they were trying that out in the first place.

#2: When your child ask for a toy (say a dollhouse), maybe instead of driving to Toys r' us to take advantage of the 20% off coupon you got in the mail, get some moving boxes, paint, fabric and whatever else material and give it to your kid instead. Tell her to try and build her "dream" dollhouse instead. You'll be surprise by what happens next. I knew a little 6-year-old who would build toy tanks and cars out of construction paper. They looked amazingly realistic!

#3: Have your kids help out around the house. Have little Billy/little Jane help dad put together that Ikea bookshelf together. Doing things around the house will teach them the basic skills of mechanics, engineering, and organizing. Have your kids pour their own cereal and milk, make their own sandwiches, etc... It's ok if they mess up. This will give them confidence to try new things.

#4: Place all art supplies some place where your child knows where to get it. I would collect old toilet paper rolls, magazines, strings, ribbons, etc. and place them in a "crafts" box. Let your child be creative with those materials. This way too, your child won't be cutting up your new Instyle magazine anytime soon! Afraid of a huge mess? Teach your kids to put away things in an organized manner!

#5: Reading actually stimulates imagination as kids travel to fantasy worlds within their storybooks. Encourage your child to read all different types of genres, including comic books. If they love reading mystery books, get them some "detective tools" like a magnifying glass, a pen and sketchbook, and have them play "detective". You can think up of fun stuff of the different genres they love! This may even help with their spelling and writing skills:)

#6: Even if you have no idea what they have built, drawn or create, OR think it looks absolutely horrendous, compliment them!! This encourages them to keep doing what they're doing: Having FUN and being INNOVATIVE!!! The more they work on such "projects", the better they'll get! Perhaps, teach them how to use certain programs on the computer or get them books or tutors who can teach them the proper techniques.

#7: Buy them craft toys instead of simply  action figures or dolls. There are plenty of craft and science kits in toystores everywhere! One such cool toy is called the Lego Mindstorm. These are basically a combination of Legos and Robotics.

#8:  If your child loves playing computer games, have them learn how to write their own game. Here's a link of a dad teaching his 9-year-old daughter how to write her own computer game. He includes instructions and what online program you can use to do so: Teaching my daughter how to code.  Google is your friend and you will find many resources to help you with this feat! Bill Gates became Bill Gates because his parents allowed him to pull apart his own computer. It was a huge mess but he learnt how to put it back together and from then on, he was unstoppable!

#9: When your kids ask for something or how to do something, get them to try to figure out a solution first and then bring that solution to you. That will get their brain going instead of you spoon-feeding them constantly! Allow your kids to argue. I like to call it bantering or reasoning. Sometimes your way may not be the only way. Give them the option to figure things out themselves!

#10: Give your child a chance to get dirty outdoors if they like to. It's ok to run through sprinklers or get a little mud on their hands. It's ok for them to catch little frogs and bugs. Have them plant flowers and vegetables and watch them grow. Give them that opportunity to learn about the God's wonderful creations!

If you guys have any other great ideas, feel free to comment and tell us about your experiences!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post Crystal! this is what I need...I hope I haven't KILL all my kids' creativity and imagination cells....I am way too focus in "paper learning" and the kids missed out all the FUN. I am too careful and too clean of a mother that allow no messing around in the house. Hope I can take your advice with Heart and let them grow in the FUN ways....=) THANKS again and hope you have a fun vacation!


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