How Do Children Learn To Be Inventors?


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my son inventing at age six

I will never forget my first blue tool box that my Daddy gave me when I was a little girl. He bought me a hammer and some nails too. My Dad passed away about two years ago. He was a hardworking man who built my childhood home from the ground. My Mom still lives there some sixty years.   It truly is a lovely little house that sits on a hill in the mountains.

Growing up I spent most weekends watching Daddy hammer, saw, and drill. It was definitely an event. He took his work serious like every good Dad does. But wow oh wow, if he hit his finger instead of the nail, you could hear the man cussing and roaring all over the mountain side.

I was a proud six year old girl with my blue tool box. I took it everywhere pretending to fix things and I too banged my finger with the hammer from time to time. I think I might have shouted too.

Taking after my Dad, a little bit that is, I decided to make my own doll house furniture. I remember making a small miniature shelf and painting it black. I ha and hummed like my dad did when he tried to figure something out. He would rub his forehead a couple of times, write numbers on paper and measure something over and over.   I copied those actions, thinking that I might accomplish something amazing like he always did.   After all, my Momma called him amazing and so he was. I believed everything my mom said as golden truth.   I really was a Momma’s girl.

My Dad also helped me make a little bench for my ceramic dwarf that my big sister helped me paint. Dad would give me direction, but he didn’t do it for me. I appreciated that. My Dad had no teacher or background education in building. He just figured it out. He figured out on his own how to do the electrical work and plumbing too. I really have high respect and admiration for this intelligent man.

I was humbled when he praised me throughout my growing up years. I too had an attitude to figure things out and not give up until I did it. Now I have to confess that I never built a house like my Dad or did anything of that sort. In my eyes what he did really was awesome. But, he thought I was pretty incredible in my accomplishments too.

My desire is to help my kids develop the same attitude that my Dad taught me and that is don’t quit and figure it out.

I took my six year old and almost five year old daughter to the children’s museum this week. My son loves the wood working area. It is kid friendly. My daughter was excited to be there too. Hanging up on the wall was pictures of things to make. My kids were not interested in duplicating anything. Instead they were more interested in discovering how the tools worked. They were not really interested in receiving any direction from me either. So I kept silent and only reminded them a few times about safety rules. After all they were working with hand saws and real metal hammers.

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There were parents making things for their kids and doing things for them that they could probably do on their own. I struggled a little bit for just sitting there and watching my kids. It was hard to do nothing myself with them. I just observed and admired their strong will to succeed.   I was delighted to see them try over and over again until they mastered a task. Most of what they did was experiment and learned from trial and error. This reminded me of my Dad who wouldn’t stop working on something until it was just right.

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What gives our children drive to investigate, explore, discover, create, imagine, and dream? I truly believe it is giving them opportunities to build, develop, plan, practice, time and tools to work with.

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Teaching isn’t always about showing and telling. Great education comes from hands on experience. Learning how to problem solve.

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Kids need to create their own blue prints, charts, and goals in order to become inventors and confident go-getters.

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This starts by letting them make mud pies, finger paint, tie their own knots, scribble letters, and make pipe mazes for marbles to shoot through.   It takes patience to let them figure out how to zip their own coats when in a hurry; fit shapes in a cube box and keep ants in a jar.

I think my kid’s Grandpa sure would be proud of his Grandkids. Seeing that they like hammering, sawing and wood too.

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5 thoughts on “How Do Children Learn To Be Inventors?

    • Hi Betty, thanks for coming by. It is amazing what kids can do with scrap material, They don’t always need toys, They can build so much out of empty containers, blocks, wood, sticks…. Mud is always a hit. They do need a chance to create without distractions. TV and Computers sometimes can be a distraction. Again thanks for coming over. Have a great day.

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