Television, popsicles, earmuffs…oh my! We wouldn’t have any of these items—and many more—were it not for the inventiveness and creativity of children. Today, on the anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birthday, we celebrate kid inventors of the past, and look toward equipping kid inventors of the future with the tools they need to stay curious and creative! Did you know that Ben Franklin himself began inventing as a child? He invented swim flippers when he was only 12 years old! He went on to become one of history’s most famous inventors. Here are our top tips for encouraging the next generation of inventors:
- Read, read, read. Diving deeply into new topics and broadening horizons can stretch a student’s imagination. Introducing students to new subjects through reading can allow them to apply their unique perspective to situations, prompting the potential for innovation. Plus, reading reinforces subjects with which students are already familiar, allowing them to excel.
- Build and tinker. Encourage students to see objects in new ways. Building with toys like LEGOs or fashioning inventions out of household objects can be fun ways to encourage inventiveness. See if students can invent a new way to water their plants, build a fort out of pillows, or create their dream home out of building blocks.
- Draw. If students don’t have the tools to bring their invention to life, encourage them to draw a design! They can be realistic or fantastic, silly or serious. These drawings can keep their creative wheels turning while helping to improve spatial reasoning skills.
- Study hard. Great ideas and inventions can come from anywhere inspiration strikes. But a more practical way to tap into inventiveness is for a student to apply him or herself in school! A strong foundation in science and mathematics sets students up for success and engagement in physics, engineering, and other fields that relate to innovation.