“Kid, you will move mountains”
Such a profound statement! And these kids took this statement very seriously. Here is a list of Child Innovators, we believe, who changed the world for good. Their determination and passion to make this world a better place has earned them respect & fame that few adults manage in their entire lifetimes.
- Kelvin Doe – Born in Sierra Leone, Kevin Doe is famed as the world’s youngest self-taught engineer. By the time he was 13, he invented a battery capable of powering homes in power deficit city of Freetown. He also built a microphone, radio amplifier, sound amplifier and a three channel mixer. Quite a lot when you are self taught and building everything from discarded items and scrap.
- Ann Makosinski – The Canadian Inventor designed a flashlight called Hollow FlashLight, which uses body heat as power. No need for batteries! The flashlight was inspired by the urge to help a friend who did not have power at night and struggled to study.
- Cassandra Lin – This child innovator is doing a great job at helping her community and saving the environment. She founded a solution to turn used and discarded kitchen oil into biofuel to heat homes of the needy. Her work has earned her numerous applauds and awards.
- Easton LaChappelle – This whizkid, who loved taking things apart, is credited with developing an affordable Robotic Prosthetic arm, known as RoboArm. His mission is to help people with disability live with grace by designing affordable prosthetics with the use of technology.
- Boyan Slat – Appalled by the amount of plastic on a fishing trip to Greece, Boyan Slat contemplated a solution to clean the ocean of plastic and thus founded ‘Ocean Cleanup’. Ever since, Ocean Cleanup is working on solutions to fish out plastic from the oceans.
- Gitanjali Rao – This 12year old child innovator holds the title of America’s Top Young Scientist for inventing a life saving device, which can detect lead in water. She was inspired for her affordable solution after witnessing the Michigan Water crisis.
- Jack Andraka – The Teen Prodigy of Pancreatic Cancer, as called by Smithsonian magazine, is credited with devising a way to detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage. Pancreatic cancer is one of the lethal cancers and is often detected at a later stage. When struck with death of a close family friend by pancreatic cancer, Jack was motivated to read about the cancer and find a better way to detect it earlier.
- Teagan Stedman – Winner of 2017 Youth Award, Teagan started early when he found out that his peer is suffering from pediatric cancer. He started with a fundraiser to help children suffering from cancer and later became so involved that he started studying the disease and the treatment course. He then came up with an improved treatment, which won him applause and 2017 Youth Award.
- Alex Deans – Alex Deans is the inventor of iAid, a wearable tech device that helps people with visual impairment navigate with ease. He has received numerous awards for his invention. What sparked his interest in such devices was when he helped a woman cross a street and happened to know there are a few devices available for visually impaired that could improve their navigation.
- Elif Bilgin – Recipient of both Scientific American’s “Science in Action Award” and the Google’s “Inspired Idea Award”, Elif Bilgin invented a method to turn banana peel into bio-plastic. This persistent girl succeeded only after 10 failed attempts, with her last two being a success. This young child innovator is not only smart but also very persistent.
- Aryaman Khandelwal – Astounded by the state of medical affairs at his native village, Aryaman worked with the local group and developed an app to record, store and analyse medical information to serve the rural community better.
All the above child innovators are not extra-ordinary by the virtue of birth. But extra-ordinary because of their inclination to uplift others and provide solutions to problems they encountered. That converges all of them to one single dominant trait -Curiosity.
They are curious, eager to explore & learn. Not afraid to fail or find perfect answers. That’s what really sets them apart. Now imagine, if you could do the same for your child. The opportunities would be boundless and so would be their accomplishments.
How can you unleash your child’s potential?
Inculcate Curiosity: Inspire your child to observe and be curious. And never gauge them by their grades! Inculcate curiosity and problem solving. Teach them to reason and question, look beyond the obvious and experiment.
Make their learning hands-on: Not a single inventor ever accomplished anything without getting their hands on the job. Ideas are great but they need to be implemented to bring the change. Same way, learning needs to be hands on. Reading about something which never get to lay hands-on, doesn’t last.
Think pragmatically, do you remember the recipe of a simple dish you never made? Or can you recall how to run Regression analysis unless you are working in statistics team of your organisation? So make learning hands-on.
Equip them with Growth Mindset: Allow room for mistakes and let them learn from their failures. Every mistake is a step towards success. Success is not achieving the desired result in first attempt but continually trying and not giving up.
Expose them to STEM fields: There is lot of innovation happening in the STEM space. STEM exposure would inspire your child to recognise how almost anything is possible and that even the craziest idea could be transformed into a reality. Everyone thought reaching the Moon was a crazy idea until Neil Armstrong landed on the lunar surface. Broaden their horizons…anything is possible!
“You become what you Read”
Read and Read More: Just like you ponder over peer group influence on your child, pay attention to what they read and what you read to them. Read them inspiring stories of success and failure of people who worked hard and how every change started with a mere thought.
Keep Expectations Realistic: While you give all that is necessary to help your child bloom, do not pressurise them. Let them follow their calling and interests. As long as they are curious, asking questions and learning by making mistakes, you need not worry. Appreciate their choices and let them bloom in their own time and at their own pace.