One of the best ways to inspire kids to get innovative is
to turn off electronics and give them a chance to get bored. Don’t get me wrong, great inspiration can come from games, T.V. and videos, but for your kids to really start to explore, experiment, and discover their world, they need time to ponder.
My kids will start whining that there’s nothing to do, like any other, but if I don’t entertain them, after about 20 minutes or so, they find things to do. This can get destructive if you live in a small place and don’t have a ready stash of tools available that are perfect for innovative play.
Here are some suggestions of items to keep around to get those creative juices flowing:
Craft and Office Supplies:
Small paper cups
glue gun (if old enough to use safely, my 7 1/2 year old handles it fine)
interesting packaging of odd shapes and sizes
old greeting cards
cardboard tubes (toilet paper & paper towel rolls)
Odds and Ends:
Broken toys are tossed, but not before they’re scavenged first!
Anything small, that looks like it might make for good future building, we keep in a drawer, such as:
interesting plastic parts (with no sharp pieces)
parts that light up
small clamps or bag clips
There are many more things you can keep, that make for great inspiration. I have to purge when our drawers are overflowing.
I let my kids make a mess as long as they keep it confined to one area and clean it up when they’re done inventing. I don’t bother them while their creating unless they ask for help. Even then, I only make suggestions to help them think it through to figure out what will work.
The best learning is trying, failing, and trying again.
They are so extremely proud when they’ve figured out something on their own. Sometimes they work together, but usually they like to create by themselves.
My son especially loves to create with cardboard, scissors, and duct tape. Often his creations start taking up too much room and he has to decide which one’s he really wants to keep! We take pictures before we toss the ones that he’s finished with. Or they’re torn apart to make way for new things. He’s told me he likes his creations better than any of his toys because he can change them and make them just the way he wants.
Some of his inventions include a balance scale, which then became a catapult, an indoor snow machine, arcade games, such as a grabber, and pinball machine, a multiplication calculator, and his favorite, which has been improved upon again and again for many months, a home for Hiccup, his toy from his favorite movie ‘How to Tame Your Dragon’.
|unfinished version of Hiccups house with bedroom (top right) and kitchen (bottom right, the green a fire pit)|
ART, SCIENCE AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR BUDDING INNOVATORS
Looking for Bay Area Summer Camps
that encourage innovation? Not only super fun, Galileo camps teach pre-K – 8th graders to be innovators who explore, create and fail without fear.