September 1, 2016 11:19 am

School is back in session and children are putting on their thinking caps and getting ready for another year of learning. Although invention and innovation is sometimes covered in science or history class, as an inventor, you might want to encourage your children to learn a little bit more about invention and even to be creators themselves. Try out these strategies when teaching your children about invention and innovation.

Play

One of the best ways to teach children is through play. Give your kids straws, paper towel rolls, string, tape, glue, paper, and other household craft materials and encourage them to create something new. This hands-on approach lets kids be kids, and they might not even know they are also learning while they play. To get started, try picking up a craft or science experiment book, but tell your children it’s okay to develop their own ideas (with your watchful eye, of course!) To teach children about historical inventors, create a quiz game or memory cards. Brush up on your skills and play with them. Not only will you have great family bonding time, but you will also teach your children about important inventions and inventors.

Curiosity

With smartphones and other mobile devices at our fingertips, it can be easy to Google questions or problems rather than figure them out ourselves or use critical thinking skills. For children, curiosity can help to foster an innovative mind. Children are always asking “Why?” or “How?” When your kids have questions like these, help them to find out rather than simply Googling it. For example, if they ask how to make the color purple, bust out the food coloring and let them find out instead of answering their question. Maybe they want to find out how to make the best paper airplane. Instead of looking up the schematics, give them some paper and tell them to make different airplane designs. Children are naturally very curious, and by cheering them on, you can help foster their innovative minds.

Encouragement

Thomas Edison was said to have failed more than 2,000 times before successfully creating the incandescent lightbulb. Teaching your children lessons like these and encouraging their endeavors is very helpful for teaching innovation and invention. As an inventor, you know you have to go through many ideas and revisions before you get your invention just right. When your children are playing or creating, they are bound to get frustrated eventually. Make sure you offer your support and encouragement, whether it’s in the form of a hug, a treat, or some help. Remind your children they don’t have to get anything right on the first try and that the most important thing is that they don’t quit.

Get Messy

In the world of invention and innovation, nothing gets done without getting a little bit messy. Combine innovation and children, and you’re sure to have paint, glue, glitter, Popsicle sticks, and cotton balls everywhere. Ignore the mess for a little and join in on the fun. Messes can be cleaned, but there’s no replacing the power of play when it comes to teaching children about inventions. Hands-on learning is very important both to childhood development and teaching innovation, so it’s a win-win to combine both. Grab a glue stick and join in on the fun.

Children are bursting with creativity, imagination, and energy. There’s no better way to educate your children about your role as an inventor and innovator than by teaching them yourself through play, curiosity, encouragement, and just a bit of a mess. Activating these parts of their brains can help them to start thinking like an innovator and learning about what you do.

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