Can anyone be an inventor – even if they’re not a genius? Why would a child make a good inventor? Lets find out!
“Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true, but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife.” – Jonathan Schattke, scientist. Multiple Intelligences Theory creator Dr. Howard Gardner, defines intelligence as “the capacity to solve problems or make things that are valued by a culture.” AKA … Invention! And the process of inventing, according to world-recognized childhood education expert, Ellen Booth Church, “invites your child to use both critical thinking and two kinds of creative thinking — fluent and flexible.”
Ellen defines critical thinking as ‘the ability to mentally break an idea or problem into parts. Fluent thinking is the ability to brainstorm ideas’. And, ‘flexible thinking is the ability to see many possibilities, or view objects or situations in different ways.’
Children have naturally inventive brains and can make great inventors, because they have a key ingredient that adults tend to lack in comparison – unchained imagination and creativity. They take their own ideas, thoughts, interests, and do what they want to get to their ideal end product, or result. Think back to kindergarten or primary school and the crazy arts and crafts or science projects that would be made. Throughout school and growing up in general, we are taught to memorise formulas and take common approaches to problems, all in the same way. Children don’t have as much experience with this process. Instead, they simply follow their own ideas and intuition to solve a problem.
Our job as parents is to help encourage and support their inventive spirit. But how?
Encourage your child to build, create, and work on solutions that they believe in – instead of following the usual mould. Provide plenty of engaging materials, your attention, good open-ended questions and positive feedback on their efforts. Examples of great open-ended questions include: “What should we try next?”, “How else could you use this?”, “Is there a way we can make this even better?” Don’t forget you are their role-model. So, ‘narrating’ or talking through your approach to solving your own problems out loud will help model inventive thinking to your child.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is an understanding of their limitless potential. We can support this belief is by helping them become great critical and creative thinkers. In turn, this will help them to find solutions to problems they will encounter throughout their lives. In fact, the process of invention helps children develop skills that will help them work through difficulties in everyday life. Who knows…you might even raise your very own little inventor who could make a huge difference in the world! We can always use new, better methods, ideas and products.
Learn about awesome Aussie inventions HERE.
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