Do you have a gifted child? The National Association for Gifted Children lists many traits of gifted children. Gifted children may not display all of these traits, however, they will display a unique combination of them.
Here are a few traits from their list:
- Abstract Thinker
- Interest in Problem Solving
- Large Vocabulary
- Sense of Humor
- Emotionally Intense
- Highly Empathetic
- Constant Questioning
You may notice that your child, when playing with toys, becomes bored with regular toys, change the rules of the game, starts looking for harder games to play, and starts wondering how their games and toys actually work.
In the early years of your child's life, however, toys specifically designed for gifted children are not necessary. Begin by teaching your children with everyday objects. Sit down with your child with a few containers full of water and a cup. Ask them how many cups they will need to fill up a container. You have just taught them about Mathematics and volume. When cooking, ask your child what colors they think they can make by mixing together different food dyes. You have just taught them about colors. When they are banging together pots and pans, ask them to experiment with making different sounds. You have just taught them about sound and music.
When they get older and everyday household items no longer challenge them intellectually; you will want to invest in the right toys that challenge them. Before going out and buying a wide range of toys, first consider a popular theory proposed by renowned psychologist Howard Gardner. Gardner proposes that there are different types of intelligence.
Some children may prefer some of these intelligences to another, so before buying our children toys, we should watch our children see which intelligence they prefer. Once we have discovered what they excel in, then we can purchase toys that will stimulate their brains and keep them interested.
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Five of these intelligences are:
A love of words and the ability to speak, read and write well. They will prefer books with words, will like toys that speak to them and help them to speak, and toys to help them learn words.
SOME TOYS TO BUY: Crosswords, linguistic typewriters, puppets, flashcards.
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Interest in Science and Maths. Ability to solve problems and find patterns. They like experiments and number games.
SOME TOYS TO BUY: Chemistry sets, posters with the solar system/numbers/parts of the body, etc., build it yourself cars/boats/planes, etc., toy microscope.
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Ability to notice little details and to see and manipulate objects.
SOME TOYS TO BUY: Puzzles, mazes, chess set, memory games.
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Physically coordinated, very hands-on. They love playing games, dancing, playing pretend, and arts and crafts.
SOME TOYS TO BUY: Build it yourself cars/boats/planes etc, Lego, arts and crafts.
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A love of nature, plants, and animals. They like collecting and ordering things while they explore the great unknown.
SOME TOYS TO BUY: Telescope, animal toys, microscope, bughouse.
Once you know which specific intelligence your child displays, it is easy to pick toys for them which will cater to their specific needs.
Remember they are children and need to have fun. Toys need to not only challenge the children but to give them pleasure and enjoyment. All children need to have that in their lives, whether they are gifted or not.