How Do You Explain Innovation to a Child

What is Innovation

To put it very simply ‘innovation’ can be defined as a ‘new device or a new idea or method’. It can also be defined as a better solution to a situation or requirement. It is the introduction of something new or the successful exploitation of new ideas. The concept of innovation is something that should be introduced to kids at a very early age.

Why are Innovation Skills Important

Young minds are the sharpest and most receptive and they grasp things in no time at all. The education system has recognised this and traditional education systems have slowly and steadily been replaced by more modern and innovative methods. Innovations ignite a sense of excitement in kids to learn more and help them become more creative and innovative as they grow.

Children are innately very creative and extraordinary in their thinking which helps their minds to develop from a very early age. This is why experiential learning is enjoyed so much by kids. Experiential learning allows kids to explore new things and innovative projects. Innovation is one of the key skills that determines a child’s future. The reason is that innovative thinking helps children to express creativity, see new opportunities and develop problem-solving skills which are so essential in life. It is a skill that parents and teachers can hone and develop in children for a brighter future.

How to Develop Innovation Skills in Children

If you are wondering how to make students innovative, there are a few things which every parent and teacher should know about innovation and what they can do to help the process.

  1. Develop Curiosity
  2. Kids by nature are always curious about new things and like to explore. If we encourage and try to develop this curiosity, they will always try to learn more and more which is the first step to innovation. You should model asking questions aloud so that your child hears you — “I wonder how… why … what will happen if we…”. At times the continuous questions by children can be rather annoying and one is tempted to snub them, but this is just their curiosity at play. You could also encourage them to write them down all their questions to be revisited at a better time. Curiosity is what leads to innovation.

  3. Encourage Taking Risks
  4. Contrary to popular opinion, teachers and parents should encourage children to take risks. Without risks and making mistakes no one can learn or become better. So, instead of always hovering over their children, parents should encourage them to take risks so that they develop the tools to overcome the risks that they are sure to face in the future. Creative thinking and innovation can only blossom if there is a readiness to take risks and make mistakes. So try to create a culture in which your child is encouraged to take healthy risks. If your child is hesitant about taking risks, you can encourage them by telling them that unless they try, they won’t know if they can do it or not. After all, it is not important to be amazing to start something, but it is important to start if you want to be amazing.

  5. Let Them Choose and Decide
  6. Parents and teachers usually direct and guide the children in what they should do, which is beneficial to an extent. But parents and teachers should not choose and decide for the children as it is important for children to learn how to handle the consequences of their decisions. This helps them to be creative and innovative.
    So don’t give in to the urge of always telling them how they should use toys, resources and equipment. Let them discover for themselves how to use any new thing they come before them. You will be surprised how they come up with new uses and different ways of doing things. The ability to see new ways of doing things is something to be encouraged as it is the foundation for innovation.

  7. Provide a Purpose
  8. One of the best ways to kindle a child’s creative thinking and innovation is to ask them for help in solving a challenge that requires them to either come up with a solution or make something that will help them to solve a problem. The thing about innovation is that it is often sparked and enhanced when there is a clear purpose in sight.

  9. Encourage Children to Play More
  10. Children just love to play and thrive on it. Encouraging children to imagine themselves as their favourite characters builds their creativity and minds. When children play, their minds grow and they are able to think clearly. Most importantly, they develop a sense of positivity and imagination. So, instead of taking the easy path and engaging them with mobile phones and laptops, encourage them to play outside as much as possible.

  11. Praise their Efforts
  12. Always praise your child when they try something new, work hard at a task, try new strategies or are creative. Studies show that children benefit the most when their efforts are recognised rather than when their skills are recognised.

  13. Create a Platform Where Their Ideas Can Be Shared
  14. The elders of the family need to remember that not everyone knows everything. Everyone always has some questions and problems to which they are seeking answers or solutions. It’s important to recognise that sometimes a child may have the answer to something that an adult doesn’t. Instead of discouraging children, the elders should respect their efforts and individuality and allow them to share their ideas.

  15. Use Open-ended Questions
  16. The best way to develop critical thinking in your child is to encourage them to attempt to answer open-ended questions. Asking them open-ended questions that start with ‘why, how, where, when’ forces your child to think before answering and to justify and explain their thinking, very often offering evidence to prove their point. You can also model by asking yourself these types of questions when you need to make decisions.

Creativity and innovation are important life skills and so it is the responsibility of parents and teachers to inculcate these qualities in children. It is important to empower the younger generation to become the future innovators and entrepreneurs by providing them with the necessary encouragement and resources. You could follow Kangaroo Kids to get more of such informative content for your child and to know how you can help your child in their journey to innovation.