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Great Activities For Gifted Kids
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Great Activities for Gifted Kids

So you've been told your child is gifted. You'd love to find some engaging activities where he fits in. Some of these may already exist at your school, and if they don't, suggest them to the teachers! Or volunteer to start a group yourself. Here are 10 great activities for gifted kids, to keep their bright minds engaged and happy.

1. It may sound cliche, but for many gifted kids the Math Club is their first introduction to team spirit, competitive environment, and positive feedback that says being smart is a great thing! Math clubs in Elementary schools are not common, but there is no reason you couldn't start one. For middle school kids, MathCounts is a great program which has been around for about 30 years. It encourages learning creative math skills and thinking fast, with both group and individual competitions at local, state, and national levels. They provide materials for the kids to practice and learn. If your middle school hasn't got a MathCounts group, chat with the math teacher and see if you can help to start one!

2. No doubt, anyone might expect to find gifted children hanging out in the Chess Club. With good reason! The strategic planning and intense but civil competition has engaged bright minds for centuries. Most schools already have a Chess Club. If they don't, this is a pretty easy one to get started.

3. If simply playing Chess doesn't float your kid's boat, try starting a Game Club. Not only can the participants play any board games, they can make up new ones, too! Encourage the kids to research the history of games they play. Pay attention to the rules for the most appealing and long-lived games. They are probably the simplest! It's fun for gifted kids to come up with their own versions of board games. They can also become some great art projects, and potential gifts for friends and family.

4. If creating projects appeals to your kids, they're bound to love making their own instruments. Combining science, art, and of course music, this activity can spur some real creativity. Using recycled material, more traditional bamboo or tubing like PVC, or even the really unexpected. If you've never watched the Vegetable Orchestra on YouTube, check it out. You will be amazed, and so will your kids, and they'll want to try it out.

5. Many Universities have competitions for History research. These will often have one topic per year to unify the judging process. Many grade levels are represented. If your child is really interested in history, and wants to really delve into what happened way back when, look for one of these competitions near you.

6. Science Fairs or Competitions are supported in most schools. This is a mainstream activity that often uses some classroom time, so you may not need to spend after school time to participate. Except, of course, for all the chauffeuring you may do back and forth to upper level competitions if your child does well.

7. Many schools have a Drama Club available for students. Participation in theater can encourage otherwise shy kids to come out of their shells, discover self-confidence, and express themselves creatively. This is an activity which can stimulate your gifted child and provide a solid group of friends from the time he's very small until he's an adult.

8. Although most schools offer Drama, most do not offer opportunities to write scripts for plays. ScriptWriting can be a great branch-off activity from Drama club, with its own rewards and benefits. The sense of accomplishment for a student who created the script for his friends to produce can be life changing. This may be a great activity for a student who is gifted in language.

9. Destination Imagination is a creative problem-solving organization for school aged kids. They will be quick to remind you that they are not only for gifted children, but there is no doubt that gifted kids thrive with the kind of challenges presented by D.I. competitions. These activities challenge kids to use science, drama, music, art, math, engineering, history, research, and other teamwork to present their very own non-influenced-by-adults solution. This may be the best thing you ever did for your child, to get him involved in Destination Imagination. Each team does require some adult supervision in the way of a team manager. This is incredibly rewarding. Team Managers for D.I. often report that their biggest challenge was to keep their mouths shut and let the kids solve the problem on their own! Parents and kids alike who have participated are proud to proclaim, "I DO DI!"

10. Odyssey of the Mind is a very similar program to Destination Imagination, and is the choice offered in some schools. Historically, they were the same group, branching off with some different philosophies. Kids get the same great experience in self-directed challenge solving.

Getting your gifted child involved in activities that keep his interest can be a challenge, and sometimes requires some volunteer hours on your part as the parent. But sometimes these groups are the only thing that will keep him engaged in public school. It is well worth the effort to find that spark of interest that makes your child happy and finds him lifelong friends in the process.


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