10 unique ways to ignite your child's inner genius

There are lots of clever ways to spark your children's creativity and help put the fun back in learning the fundamentals.

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  • There are lots of fun ways to spark your children's creativity and get them to love learning. The way of learning is problem-solving. A good education, rather than teaching kids the answers, teaches them how to find solutions on their own and have fun doing it.

  • Here are some simple ways to ignite your child's love of learning.

  • Simple conversation

  • Engage in what's going on in your child's classroom. Go for specifics. Rather than ask, "How was school today?" try, "Did your class finish reading 'The Giving Tree'? What did you think of it?" or "The science fair is coming up. What were you thinking of doing for it?"

  • What if?

  • My children loved to play 'What if?' when they were growing up. Try some of these questions: What if your teacher showed up in her swimsuit to teach? What if you went into the room and the walls were black? What if the teacher said there would be no more math taught in school? Let them give you a list of consequences and repercussions for the questions. Listen without judgment.

  • Creative thinking

  • Give your children a bag of 10-12 things: an alarm clock, an orange, a flannel shirt, a ball cap, a ruler, a book of poetry, a colander, a towel — just odd, unrelated things. Send your kids off and give them 10-15 minutes to come up with a play (if you have several children) or story (if you have just one child) that uses each item and makes sense.

  • Creative engineering

  • Give your child a little box of odd throw-aways: an egg carton, a lid from a jar, some popsicle sticks, twist ties, broken objects that are safe (like non-working toys or parts from an incomplete game), plastic lids or containers, plastic silverware, rubber bands from produce, etc. Then, arm them with safe scissors, glue, tape, and other items necessary to produce a working machine. Leave them to it. If they are older, let them take apart and try to repair something broken: a radio, a clock, an appliance, a camera. Just supervise anything electrical and make sure that they don't plug the item in until you check it out.

  • Household duties

  • When giving children chores, include some that require learning something new. Have them help with budgeting, menu planning, shopping, home repairs and landscaping. Get their advice and work with them to bring the project to fruition. Call them Project Managers. Let older children work with younger children to teach them their newly acquired ability.

  • Make them think

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  • Have your children explain their decisions to you, such as what they choose to wear on a particular day. For example, say, "That's a nice shirt. Why did you choose that one today?" Asking them questions about their choices of clothes and activities not only allows them to figure it out for themselves, but makes them more aware of their choices and why they make them.

  • Reading, reading, reading

  • It is impossible to overemphasize reading. Let your children see you reading and enjoying it. Read with them at bedtime. Let them read to you. Fun books, scriptures, the classics — read them all. Let your kids read labels in the grocery store when you shop. Give them books to look at on the potty chair. Get them a library card as soon as they are old enough and make trips regularly to the library.

  • Treasure hunts

  • Create a treasure hunt using clever riddles, math equations, passages from books, problems to solve. In the end, the victor shares a treasure treat with the family. When they are old enough, let them create the treasure hunt.

  • Create homework havens

  • Create an atmosphere for homework that will entice them. Have a special place that only they can go to work. Put on soft classical music. Make certain the temperature is right and ask them if they are comfortable. Provide a snack.

  • Take advantage of learning tools and games

  • There are tons of great learning games and apps out there. With color, fun and creativity, these games challenge your children but do so in a delightful way.

  • Learning is fun and the sooner you get your children creatively engaged, the greater their experience will be.

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Becky Lyn is an author and a 35+ year (most of the time) single mom.

Website: http://www.beckytheauthor.weebly.com

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