A commercial aired with Malcolm Gladwell and Kevin Hart sitting across from each other talking about their experience with an audio book platform. As I watched the commercial, I was intrigued to find two of my favorite geniuses in their own professions sitting across from one another. Kevin Hart is a comedic genius. He has taken everyday life and has made millions laugh with his quick wit and funny stories. Malcolm Gladwell, a New York Times best selling author has wowed audiences with his research and knowledge about every day events. Both I admire for their unique perspective and their pure genius.
Our children have the ability to be genius in many different areas. Take an athlete for example. Not just any athlete. The athletic ability of a Serena Williams or a Michael Jordan can be seen as pure genius. Multiple intelligence exist and not everyone has general intelligence, in the long division or scientific way. Many athletes for example are considered to have Bodily-Kinesthesis intelligence- the ability to coordinate your mind and your body.
Howard Gardner introduced the theory of multiple intelligences in 1983 in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner wanted to show that intelligences can be gained over the course of a life span in other areas beside general intelligence. His eight categories of intelligence included musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthesis, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligence. While his theory has been widely criticized there is a great balance in encouraging intelligence in many areas for our children not just academics.
As a mom of a Mensan, we had both of our children participate in creative activities while growing up. We tried several sports and activities until each of our children found the activities that they felt best in. Each had to play a sport and participate in a creative arts activity. My daughter played soccer, dance, and took art lessons. My son was in scouts, played the guitar and trumpet and tennis. Each child has their own unique gifts but it is important to help them to find their own interests.
During the summer, we continued to have them participate in activities that helped their well rounded intelligence. Each summer my children participated in summer camps that were more sports oriented to help with physical activity and to allow them to gain team building skills. I always provided summer learning activities each summer at home or in the community to help with academics. From an early age, we always played games like chess, Uno, Yahtzee or Rummikub, that helped them with early academic skills and critical thinking skills. Children learn when they are having fun and when there is a little competition going on.
Tips for Early Childhood and Elementary Age
Tip- Start early. Getting children involved in creative activities when they are young helps to create routine and habit.
Tip: Play an instrument. Research shows that learning to play an instrument will help with verbal memory, spatial reasoning and literacy skills. Instruments such as piano or drums, that require both hands show great benefits to early learners.
Tip: Teach a second language. Children who learn a second language have improved memory, advanced concentration and better listening skills- all key skills for school success.
Tip: Everything with a song. Music is a great way to help children learn. Many create concepts like the alphabet or clean up go better with a song.
Tip: Play chess. Chess is a great way to expand the mind and to help with analytical and critical thinking skills.
Tip: Bring on the drama. Drama and acting helps children to use creative skills including being more aware of their own feelings and social awareness. Children can also learn more about the world around them and gain appreciation for others.
Tips for Social Studies Middle School and High School
Tip: Debate. Children can grow their vocabulary and language skills by participating in debate teams in high school.
Tip: Karate. Individual sports like karate help to build leadership, character and confidence skills in students.
Tip: Be a scout. Scouting continues to provide opportunities for youth to learn and grow as a team. Scout troops participate in activities related to life and learning while earning badges. Leadership, character and community are great values reinforced in scouting.
Tip: Play with robots. Many schools have embraced robotics clubs and other STEM related clubs to introduce children to fields like engineering. These teams can provide hands on learning and even scholarship opportunities for college.
Tip: Be in the school play. Many students benefit from participating in the school drama performances. Whether in front of the stage or behind the stage, many students can find they improve communication, social skills and problem solving when working on a creative project with others.
Tip: Take a hike. Walking in nature can help reduce stress, increase focus and improve overall health and physical well being. Many students benefit from getting outside daily.
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