Let Your Kids Have A Go

little explorer

Have you met 7 year old Harry Deverill? He just helped Waitrose, a British supermarket chain, to redesign the label of its Brown Sauce packaging. What about 15-year-old Jack Andraka? He’s the boy who invented a cheap and accurate pancreatic cancer sensor. Or 16 year old George Nissen who invented the modern trampoline?

Perhaps you have heard of 17 year old Cynthia Sin Nga Lam’s invention, which uses pollutants in the water to boost power production in a separate compartment at the same time as it cleans and purifies the water, so that it becomes drinkable.

Our kids are perfectly cut out to be inventors because imagination is still a good thing, and they have not yet had restrictions imposed on them. “You can’t do that” or “It won’t work”  or perhaps even “We don’t do it that way” are phrases we start to hear at school and in the workplace but it doesn’t have to be that way.

There have been many articles over the last few years about kids and teens who have had a simple idea to revolutionise the way we do things. How can you encourage your kids to be creative and inventive?

Here are some suggestions for you.

1. Encourage creative activities like painting, building, and playing music.

2. Allow your child to explore options before telling him or her what to do.

3. Encourage imaginative play – technology free, outdoor, get-your-hands-dirty types of play.

4. Teach your kids not to accept the first explanation or solution as the only right way to do things.

5. Importantly – introduce the concept of invention so that instead of it being an activity that someone else does, it becomes a natural part of life.

You might like to take a look at this booklet from PBSKids which was prepared for kids aged 9 to 12 who are in after school care. It is intended to spark creativity and inventiveness through a series of challenges. The introduction is particularly good, covering how to introduce the idea of invention to your kids.

We have so much young talent that could one day make a positive contribution to the world, let’s start nurturing it right here at home.