Practical Ways to Teach Gifted Kids How to Become Inventors

Teach them to appreciate the process of trial and error

Kid with toy airplane
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Why should you teach your child to become an inventor? For one, many people are fascinated by the stories of how everyday products were invented. Not all inventions are created by corporations nor are all inventions created on purpose. Some inventions are actually mistakes (like sticky notes), while others (like Velcro) are created by curious and observant individuals.

What Does it Take to Be an Inventor?

It doesn't always take lots of money or corporate backing to become an inventor.

It doesn't even take being an adult!  Kids can be inventors, too. What it takes are a fresh eye, curiosity, and some creativity. Other characteristics of being an inventor include creativity, having broad interests, being multidisciplinary and taking multiple approaches to solving a problem.

Sometimes, it's easier for kids than for adults to look at a problem from multiple angles because they have not yet learned about what will not work. Their minds are still open to possibilities. They aren't impeded by the idea that "it's never been done that way." And if your child has multiple interests, he may be able to draw on knowledge from all those interests to find a new solution to an old problem. When a person knows about only one area, she tends to think only from that viewpoint. 

For example, do you think a poet and a physicist think the same way about the physical universe?  If you are thinking that only a physicist can solve a problem in the physical world, while the poet can only express the longings of the soul, then you are already limiting your thinking.

  Your child may be more open to seeing problems in fresh ways.

A Step-By-Step Approach to Inventing

If your child is creative and you would like to encourage his "inner inventor," then you can help him by providing a few step-by-step ideas on how to approach the inventing process.

To start out, consider how the task could be performed better or more easily.

Once your child (or you) has recognized a problem, then the task is to determine how to eliminate the problem.

Next, take note of what you don't like to do or what seems more difficult than it should be. This happens to everyone on occasion. We frequently think, "I wish someone would invent a way to..." or "This is such a hassle..."

That's how inventing often works. Someone hears a comment another person makes or they themselves think about what could be improved. This is where being observant comes in handy. When you hear about a problem or an inconvenience, however, you must design a way to solve it. What is the design of the product? What would it look like? How would it work?

Kid Inventors

Gifted kids have a knack for out-of-the-box thinking.  Unfortunately, sometimes our kids don't always have the confidence it takes to forge ahead with their truly innovative ideas. If you want to help your child understand that innovation and invention don't belong to adults alone, then you might want to visit websites about young inventors with your child and have some discussions on what it takes to be an inventor.

You might also enjoy exploring the stories of other young inventors with your child. The book "Brainstorm! The Stories of Twenty American Kid Inventors" is an excellent way to begin.

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