Fueling a child's imagination

7:12 AM

If I haven't already said it on here 1000 times, Oliver is obsessed with inventing. Everything he sees is a part of his invention; he is constantly scheming how to connect things. The plumbing and duct work in our home: part of his invention. An extension cord in a store we're shopping at: part of his invention. He plugs usb-cords into everything and doesn't even become disappointed when nothing happens. His inventions define him. He spends hours and hours on end working on them.

Calvin has been fueling Oliver's imagination by teaching him to play Little Big Planet 3. The video game (though yes, a form of "screen time") is amazing for encouraging creativity and "sky's the limit" thinking as opposed to the binary "this action is either right or wrong" of so many other games, not to mention the violence. I would rather Oliver play a game where his actions affect the outcome, than just watch a movie where he is a passive audience.

The other thing we've been up to is exploring electricity. My dad bought Oliver an inventor's kit in California when he was teaching a computer course there. It contains a learning book with projects and instructions, as well as a huge pile of pieces that he can use to create the projects or experiment on his own.

So far he has learned that electricity works in a loop. The loop starts at one end of the battery (which is the source of power) and ends at the other side, and they are called positive and negative, or + and -. The battery shouldn't be connected only to itself or it will overheat (short) so we attach it, using alligator clips, to "loads". Right now his loads are a lightbulb on a base, a red LED, a buzzer and a motor which he connects to other things to make them spin. He also learned that many metal things can be conductors and let the electricity through, but other things are insulators and stop the electricity. We spent some time testing things in the house and he thought it was pretty cool that Daddy's glasses are a conductor -- and his breakfast spoon! The most recently project we did was creating an on-off switch using brad clips and a paper clip. Now he can make an electricity loop (in series, not parallel yet) with a light and buzzer, so when the Toronto Maple Leafs score he can complete the loop (close the circuit) and make it sound and light up.

He is absolutely blowing me away at how much he understands and how easily he can apply the information. The kit is designed for elementary school children but Oliver doesn't even start JK until September (yes: I register him in 2 weeks, oh my heavens.)

We are so happy to be providing ways for him to be creative and explore possibilities. And hey, it's fun for us too.

You Might Also Like


Like us on Facebook