Here's the problem. Our world is going digital so fast that kids aren't doing anything hands on anymore. Research suggests our phones and tablets as "shut up toys" could impede self control and problem solving skills in children. This shouldn't be taken lightly. The world needs problem solvers and self control. We can't forfeit that!
Here's an article about that here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/smartphone-tablet-overuse-among-toddlers-may-stunt-development-1.2940848
I want to present three things that will most definitely get kids going again.
1. Teach them music.
When we sing, read music, or play an instrument we access centers of our brain that were once dormant. You can read about how singing out loud in a group affects the brain here http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/
I've taught guitar lessons for several years on the side and I can tell you that it awakens a part of a child that was never there before. Challenging them in music gets them doing something other than digital media that they can become passionate about. Even if they don't seem musically talented everyone benefits from basic instruction and at least trying new things. I've seen kids as young as 4th grade who could barely hold a guitar, play and sing at the same time in a talent show at school 5 months later. And the parents had no idea whether or not their daughter was musically inclined. Also, what is it about musicians that seem to prevent them from aging??? There might be some connection....
2. Take them to college campuses when they're in grade school. Don't wait until High School.
I learned this from a guy who brought his son to Maker Faire in Dearborn. While his son was building one of our models on our Mobile Assembly Line, he told us about his strategy to instill ambition in his son. He said, "I take my boy to all kinds of college campuses around the Midwest. Instead of just telling him to get good grades, I show him the goal. We go to these campuses and look around the classrooms and libraries and watch students studying and carving out their future. It's tangible. He can see what the goal and reality is of doing well."
WOW! I mean how simple is that? What a great Dad.
3. Buy "do it yourself" type kits and projects for them to try.
Kids love building things, but I'm starting to notice a trend in all of these build events that we do here at Constuct a Truck USA. I'm starting to notice handfuls of kids who have never picked up a screw driver or hammer before. I actually have had a few kids almost start to panic at the prospect because the task of building the model with tools seemed too daunting and foreign. Now kids love Legos and similar products because it's fun to build and easy to put together. But I'm saying, CHALLENGE them a little with something that requires a little glue, paint, a tool or two, and some minor sanding. The next time they have to help dad in the garage they'll be more prepared and willing to help. And I can tell you that the kids that almost seem to lose it, learn really fast with some patience. I just showed them how to do it and then asked them to try with me. In a matter of minutes the kid is a pro at driving in screws and assembling what used to look so difficult. This is invaluable for a child's development. I don't think we realize how useful this kind of exposure can be.
So I'm not saying that all technology is bad. Quite the contrary. Obviously we're using our devices to read and post this blog. But let's get our kids to do more hands on activities!
Don't wait around. Check out our model kits @ www.constructatruckusa.com
We've got plenty of kits for them to try out and tackle. We want our world to be awesome and it starts with awesome children!