4 Tips to spark the engineer in your child.
In today’s technological world, every child needs to be tech-savvy. The world will only become more complex technology-wise, and our children will need to know how to interact with technology, while still remaining free-thinking, active members of society.
The technological explosion has also created an ever-increasing demand for electronic engineers. Electrical engineering is on the list of most-in-demand careers in most countries around the world. How do we develop problem-solving skills and spark an interest in engineering in our children, and thus open up a very good career choice as a possibility for them later on?
Teach them to be curious
Jonathan Mugan writes in his very interesting book, The Curiosity Cycle: Preparing Your Child for the Ongoing Technological Explosion how important it is to cultivate an enquiring mind in our children. This prepares them to be active thinkers in the technological age, instead of just regurgitators of information. He suggests we start by modelling active learning to our children. Do not simply supply your child with the answer when asked a question, but rather ask them “What do you think?” His book is worth reading for more tactics on preparing our children for the technological age.
Allow them to explore
Johann Kok, engineer and inventor of the SeeBox, maintains that the early start he got in being allowed to open up discarded electronics at the electricity workshop his father worked at, and explore the inside, is what got him into engineering. Not every child has that opportunity, but we all have old and discarded electrical appliances and electronics laying around at home. Let your child explore these, not matter if things get a bit messy. They may thank you for it later.
Expose your child to technology, but there are limits
There are numerous child-friendly apps available for smartphones: 15 Great apps for kids
But be aware of the numerous studies showing that children’s screen time do need to be moderated in order to develop all aspects of their body and mind, so do not overdo it. We use a guideline of 10 minutes for each year of the child’s life per day – so our 6-year old gets no more than 60 minutes of screen time per day, and it is broken into 2 sessions.
Sometimes, simply sit with your child and help them to use technology smartly – to discover new information, to play actively with programs. This can become precious bonding time between parent and child.
Expose them to the basic of electricity early on
It is well known that a child learns new things much easier than an adult. Children do not have the barriers of fear of failure that we develop only later on. They take things at face value, without preconceived ideas about certain fields being ‘too difficult’. Get your child started early and spark their interest while they are at their most receptive.
There are many electronics training tools and games out there, some of which are online, and some even free. Basic online games are good to start younger children on – a google search will reveal numerous options, so play around. Our experience is that there is no substitute for the real thing for true understanding and integration of knowledge, once children are old enough to grasp abstract concepts, around 10 years of age. SeeBox is an excellent tool here. It teaches the basic concepts of electricity with videos, and then the child applies the knowledge on an electronic board using actual electronic components. The immediate feedback enables the child to learn via experimentation, and it feels like a game. You can also track your child’s progress via the learner management system.
Finally, it is about creating opportunities for your child to develop their natural curiosity. Help them to be curious about the world, to ask questions, and so cultivate an inquiring, problem-solving mindset that can only help your child succeed in life, no matter what field they choose to study later on.
Seebox exposes children to the interesting world of Electronics on their own, and let them explore and learn at their own pace. It contains all your child needs to prepare them for Engineering studies at tertiary level later on. Here’s how.