Engaging, Low-Tech Activities To Do At Home With Your Gifted Child

Girl readingWith everything going on in the world now, school systems are dealing with not being able to gather in person—something they’ve never had to do before. Because of this, you might notice that the needs of your gifted child have changed and the task may fall on you to supplement your child’s education.

It’s important to remember that gifted children don’t necessarily need access to the latest computer or be connected to the internet to be engaged. Many gifted learners are self-starters: They possess an insatiable curiosity and want to go deep in areas of interest. Here are some activities that can be done from home to help engage and challenge your gifted child.

Passion Projects

Begin by thinking about the books your child enjoys, questions they’ve asked of you in the past that you weren’t able to answer, or anything that they have shown an interest in—and have them create a passion project around it. For example, for a passion project on monarch butterflies, think of their habitats, what they eat, their anatomy, and how a chrysalis works. These are all topics a child can explore more deeply within their area of interest. Make a timeline or plan for when they will work on each section. Try online resources such as Kidtopia.

Whether you want to help your child explore and learn with them, jump in once in awhile, or let them work completely solo, the main point of this activity is to figure out what works best for your child and assist them.

Higher-Order Thinking Questions

Take what your child is learning from the lessons provided by their teacher and challenge them with higher-order thinking questions using the levels from Bloom’s Taxonomy, a foundational learning framework developed by psychologist Benjamin Bloom in the 1950s. This can be done by going through the levels of questioning with your child:

Level 1: Remember—recall basic information such as asking for names or descriptions.

Level 2: Understand—ask your child to explain a concept to you or ask them what they think about it.

Level 3: Apply—ask your child what they would do or if they can make a connection between the lesson and something from their own experience.

Level 4: Analyze—brainstorm a problem that could arise and ask your child to find a solution.

Level 5: Evaluate—ask your child to justify or judge a topic. This can be as simple as asking your child if something is good or bad.

Level 6: Create—take a problem with the topic and create a product to solve it.

Creating a Product

According to Kristen Stephens and Frances Karnes, developing a product is a way for your child to transform their knowledge and ideas into something tangible.

Talk with your child about problems they may have encountered or heard about, either in the world at large or on a local level in your community. From there, your child can figure out a product that they could invent to be part of a solution. It can be represented in a drawing, a description, a clay mold, whatever medium your child enjoys most. If your child wants to work on a picture rather than a 3D model, that’s fine, but challenge your child to then label and describe the ways different parts of their product would move.

Ask your child to create a material list of what they need if they were to actually create their product; if you have materials around the house, perhaps they can build it. Other questions to inspire your child could be: What are their goals? Who or what could be used as a resource? Who is the product for?  Some great examples of products made by kids that became real products can be seen here.

Strategy Games

A great way to nurture your child’s gifts and have great family fun is through strategy games! Strategy games allow your child to practice using skills like higher-order thinking questions and problem-solving while being motivated by the chance to win. In fact, NAGC just released a compilation of archived toys and games lists from the past decade. Traditional board games that have been passed down through generations include Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble, Battleship, and Connect Four.

This time is difficult for all of us as we search for a sense of normalcy in this place of uncertainty. But the activities given above can be tools to motivate your child to continue reaching their potential. Remember that it’s all about allowing your child to take the lead with their own learning, all they need is a helping hand from you.

About the author: Marie Anastasia de Tomasi is a graduate student at Purdue University studying gifted education. She has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Exceptional Needs (also from Purdue) and lives in San Francisco.

References

Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives, handbook I: The cognitive domain. David McKay.

Karnes, F. A., & Bean, S. M. (2015). Methods and materials for teaching the gifted, (4th ed.).Prufrock Press.