How to Encourage Ingenuity in Children
"It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well" - René Descartes (1596-1650).
Ingenuity can be described as the ability to use creativity and imagination to solve everyday problems. It’s essential to encourage ingenuity in children, but how can we do this? Why is it beneficial?
What is ingenuity?
Ingenuity refers to the ability a person has to invent or come up with ideas, using knowledge and available resources, and apply them to solve problems. We can link this concept with this quote from a well-known philosopher:
“It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well”
Imagination or ingenuity are abilities that parents can encourage in their children from a young age. This can be achieved by making them face thought-provoking situations. And, most of all, by letting children solve problems by themselves.
The importance of encouraging ingenuity in children
During the stage between childhood and adolescence, children often tend to lose a lot of their creative freedom. One reason behind this are the changes that happen during pre-adolescence, which can affect decision-making and, therefore, ingenuity.
It’s crucial to encourage ingenuity in children as early as possible, so they can maintain this quality throughout adolescence.
Encouraging ingenuity in children provides calm and happiness
Children are attracted to the unknown, which urges them to think about what they want to become when they grow up. This sets goals that are harder to achieve, but also more satisfying. All this provides happiness and calm.
In addition, children are in the process of growing up, so it’s key to encourage their emotional side so they can become adaptable, well-rounded adults. This can only happen if we develop their imagination as early as possible.
Ways to encourage ingenuity in children
Why? During a research study conducted by two public health workers in Germany, all toys were taken away from a nursery school. The children were bored at first, but soon after they started to come up with games.
This hints that scarcity sharpens the mind. Hence, the fewer things kids play with, the more beneficial it is for them, because they learn to be creative.
Reading stories and drawing
One of the activities we can use to encourage ingenuity in children is reading new stories to them often. Stories take the children to a world full of new ideas and emotions.
Another would be drawing. This allows children to express themselves about the things they’ve seen in their environment, or those they wish to see. We must be careful not to laugh at their drawings, or else we could hinder their creativity.
Using the elements in their environment and music
Another way to stimulate children’s imagination is to use elements or objects from their surroundings, and give them a different purpose than usual. This way children imagine themselves using the same objects in a new manner. Music is also essential, because it helps them imagine or travel to different settings.
Theater plays and story-telling
Plays also enhance ingenuity in children, allowing them to experience the characters they’ve often read about. When we ask a child to tell a story, we give wings to his or her imagination. The aim is for children to create a theme for the story and to come up with characters and events.
Research and role-playing
Research also improves imagination in children, because it helps them understand an event. Similarly, role-playing causes them to imagine themselves talking and interacting with their favorite animals or characters.
Debating and painting
If we create a debate, children have a place to express their ideas, encouraging their ingenuity to come up with an answer. Taking them on a trip also develops imagination. Plus, they learn a lot through contact with nature.
Stimulating imagination in children is not actually hard, since it is a main characteristic of childhood.
Benefits of encouraging ingenuity in children
Here are some of the main benefits that come from encouraging ingenuity in children:
- Helps with primary motivation while learning.
- Ingenuity fosters logic and mathematic reasoning, which makes problem solving easier.
- Improves self sufficiency and discipline.
Ingenuity stimulates self-analysis when solving problems and improves self-esteem
- Motivates children to learn from their mistakes. They learn from past experiences to avoid future mistakes.
- Imagination and ingenuity improve self-esteem.
- Contributes to developing a focused, patient and determined mind when looking for solutions.
- Helps to establish a relationship between math and everyday events.
Imagination improves interaction with other children
- By using their ingenuity during contests or championships, children learn to develop feelings and values when interacting with others.
- Through teamwork, ingenious children can contribute more, establishing better personal relationships.
- Imagination helps children improve their self-control when dealing with problems.