Oct 13, 2020
The Nobel prizes in science are being handed out this month to people around the world. The prizes are given to scientists, inventors and others who have provided the "greatest benefit to mankind". Most of history's greatest inventions happened out of necessity or out of a desire to make life easier. Just think where we would be today with fire, light, electricity or, of course, phones.
Ten million years ago, humans began making tools out of bones, antlers and stones to help them with everyday tasks. Today's inventors have created smart toothbrushes that automatically locate problems and brush our teeth for use in three seconds flat. Other inventors have created a smart garbage receptacle that sorts our recycling and garbage for us.
Children have a natural curiosity and imagination that are critical to invention. It's something that, along with creativity, they share with the world's greatest inventors. You've seen it with your own child. She won't always think in conventional terms. She also seldom starts from the premise that she can't do something. You're more likely to hear why not rather than we can't from your child. Children, especially young children, are also unafraid to try something and fail. As parents and teachers, we need to do all we can to encourage these attitudes.
Start by providing your child with the physical and intellectual space to innovate. Provide engaging materials but don't offer too much direction. Instead, ask guiding questions and give them your undivided attention when they want to discuss or explain. You can also introduce them to the scientific method. Even the youngest child can practice observing, hypothesizing and experimenting. If your child has questions answer them to the best of your ability but don't be afraid to say you don't know the answer. This is an excellent opportunity to practice research and investigation skills. Show your child how to find the answers he needs.
If your child comes up with an invention, help them build it and test it out. eyThis might mean providing the tools or materials, or it might mean pitching in to help. The important thing here is that they follow through. They need to see their invention in action. If it fails, talk to them about where they think the problem was.
Your child might not be a future Nobel prize winner. Still, many of the skills that inventors possess are critical to future success in many different careers, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. No two inventors approach problems in the same way, so it's equally important that we let our children leverage their natural strengths while they develop new skills. Here are a few of the skills we associate with inventors.
Creative skills are also essential. Imagination and the ability to both think and act creatively are keys to invention.
Do you have a budding inventor at home? Are you interested in finding out more about inventions? Look into the history of inventions or examine some of the inventions that changed history. You could investigate National Geographic's 10 inventions that changed the world and discuss your child's take on what they consider to be the world's most influential inventions.
You can also give your child some hands-on experience at the Children's Learning Center's Invention Investigations Camp during this fall's break.
At Children's Learning Adventure®, students are always gearing up for a new adventure! This fall's adventure brings the fascinating world of inventions and inventors to your child and will foster the curiosity and STEAM skills to encourage the budding inventor. When school is out, it is 'in' to join the fun. Sign up or find out more about our Invention Investigations Camp.