Has your child recently been identified as gifted? Have you noticed that your child is more developmentally advanced than his or her peers? Does your child have superior abilities in cognitive, artistic, physical, musical or other areas of higher sensitivity?
Parents can help to foster the gifted child’s insatiable appetite for exploration, learning, and experimentation by offering experiences, and not just focusing on skill and drill.
Offering children opportunities to explore the world around them keeps them engaged and taps into their natural sense of curiosity. Imagine delving into chemistry with your five year old by mixing a solution of water and cornstarch to create “goop”—is it a solid, is it a liquid? Try it together and find out! Try working with your eight year old to explore the systems of the human body—buy a 3-D set and take it apart and put it back together as a puzzle. Can you and your child begin to name the functions of the internal organs? Stronger foundations for learning are built with hands-on activities than by solely reading about facts in a book.
Don’t forget about the benefits that your family vacation may provide. Family trips to Florida or the Caribbean can address interest in marine biology. If your child is old enough, take advantage of children’s programs that may encourage discovery of coral and other marine life. A family adventure snorkeling can provide the same benefit. Exploring new cities whether at home in the US or abroad can satisfy a curiosity about people and cultures. A trip to the American Southwest can incorporate learning about the Apache, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni. Journeying to Italy and exploring the ancient ruins of Pompeii can be fun and engaging for the curious teenager (and the rest of the family as well!)