Suggestions To Turn On Bright Children at Home

Bright children are always in search of new and stimulating activities. As a parent it is not always possible to have available challenging and interesting projects at your immediate disposal. Your children are eager to learn, are curious and usually willing to stretch their imaginations, especially if their parents encourage, approve and explore along with them. Common household items and simple games given a new twist often become the source for original ideas and a creative springboard for you and your child to investigate. The important thing to remember is that the idea is SPECULATION. There are no hard, fast, or "correct" answers or procedures: the more divergent the better! Sometimes new problems, rather than solutions, will arise. Keep an open mind and allow the activities to be open-ended. Try to adjust the activities to your child. Enjoy the activities and enjoy your "special child".

  1. Play "Scrabble" 'ad lib' or using only words around a theme ..... for example farm, Christmas, weather. Children must give rationale for words used.
  2. Pick a household item and invent 10 new uses for it, apart from the obvious. Design the perfect broom, vacuum cleaner, stove, etc.
  3. Listen to an ethnic radio station. Pick up a Greek or Italian newspaper and explore it with the child. Listen to the music of the words ... and borrow some records or tapes from the library and listen to the music of the country. Plan a family meal using only recipes from that country and then invent your own dish using products similar to the national recipes.
  4. Plan a trip and mention problems that might arise. Let the children solve the problems with highway maps, newspapers, the Yellow Pages or whatever.
  5. Write letters to manufacturers praising or complaining about their products. Make suggestions for improvement. Perhaps include a catchy commercial jingle that the manufacturer could use to advertise the product. Discuss television commercials, looking for obvious and "hidden" messages. Enter a manufacturer's contest.
  6. Invite an elderly member of the family to discuss "old times" and life fifty years ago. Design a family crest depicting family history and symbols of the family's value system. Prepare a motto to accompany the crest.
  7. Investigate various forms of communication in your home .. body language, facial expressions, animal communication, media, etc. Design your own code of communication.
  8. Discuss a favourite T. V. show and plan two plots and sub-plots for the characters. Discuss plausibility of the present plots and relate them to your own personal experiences.
  9. Star gaze and investigate astronomy. Learn about calendars to which other different cultures adhere. (Hebrew, Chinese.) Create a new month with a new holiday. What would happen if all months had 30 days and the five or six extra days were between months? Five 6 day weeks per month?
  10. Scour the newspapers for local problems and plan logical solutions. Write letters to the Editor.
  11. Keep a diary of family or personal events and make each entry in a different form ... Haiku, poem, illustration, song, etc.
  12. Devise a weather station for recording conditions and predictions. Plan novel ways of conserving water and energy based on your findings.
  13. Devise a new Maths number system and plan equations in your system. Explore unfamiliar operations on a calculator.
  14. Learn about perennial and annual plants and plan a time table for flowering.
  15. Plan simple chemical experiments from household items. Explore chemical components of household items and foodstuffs. Discuss chemical changes in food.
  16. Solve crossword puzzles or anagrams and construct your own. Plan your own riddles and puzzles.
  17. Have the children plan a garage sale as if you were going to sell household "unwanteds". Ask them to price the items realistically. This can involve searching the "Wanted to Sell" columns of the newspaper to find the going prices for various items.
  18. Children can make lists of favoured ways to spend the money you would raise from the garage sale! Each person must defend his choice!
  19. Read current world news items. Analyse the articles for solutions and discuss how the possible solutions could filter down to affect your lives.
  20. Chart the routines of household pets. Record the changes in behaviour in the development of a habit. Design the perfect fictitious household pet, borrowing characteristics of other animals.
  21. Allow the child to redesign his bedroom to accommodate his hobbies and interests.
  22. Watch a new sport. Plan an invented sport with logical rules, equipment and uniforms. Try to play it.

Adapted to Australian needs from an article in Gifted Child Today, Nov.- Dec.1982, by Sylvia Anthony, Coordinator of the Pegasus Program for the gifted in the Bogota, New Jersey, school system. Reprinted from South Australian Association of Gifted and Talented Children 1991

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