Posts Tagged ‘ Innovation ’

Snow Days Are Great Days For Arts And Crafts

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

With yet more snow and cold, and cold and snow, making it’s way through many parts of the country, lots of kids will be enjoying snow days. And while playing outside in the snow is a fabulous way to spend time, these days are also great days for doing arts and crafts.

Arts and crafts will be one of the big themes this year in child development. Why? We are seeing more research on the developmental benefits that come from doing arts and crafts. Even simple activities during toddlerhood – such as copying shapes – supports academic readiness for kindergarten. And new studies suggest long-term benefits, like being innovative in adulthood.

Want some ideas? Here are a number of ways to do arts and crafts at home. And what if you don’t have all the materials you would need for some of these activities. Then, just have your kids use what you have, and make up your own crafting activity! It’s a great thing to do on a snow day.

Little Child With Hands Painted via

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Reading and Talking To Young Children About Entrepreneurship

Friday, January 24th, 2014

In my last blog post, I discussed the relevance and importance of cultivating “entrepreneurial traits” in children.  This could, and should, start in the early years, as kids are always fascinated to learn about different types of jobs.

A novel approach is offered via the new book Camila’s Lemonade Stand. The book focuses on Camila, a “plucky kid in the Career Launcher Crew, seven fearless children in search of their futures.” The story line follows Camila as she finds herself with no money for the Ferris wheel, and encounters a friendly sprite named Itsy who suggests that she can start a business.

The concept behind the book is that it’s not just to be read to children, but in fact used as a platform for fun discussion and promotion of entrepreneurial thinking (facilitated by a companion guide). Some of the key themes that can be introduced include:

  • Ideas are valuable
  • You can come up with your own new ideas
  • You can think of a lot of different ideas and consider the pros and cons
  • Translating ideas into actions can serve people (it can make them happy) as well as yourself (it can make you happy)

These are principles that all young children should be learning, as they serve as foundations for developing a problem-solving mindset that encourages innovation and creativity.

Here is a video of an interactive reading from the book that illustrates the potential for the approach in a classroom.

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Arts and Crafts in Childhood Predict Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Adulthood

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Many proponents of the arts have contended that participation in childhood has many benefits which extend past the arts. A new study by researchers at Michigan State University adds to this argument by providing evidence that arts and crafts in childhood promote innovation in adulthood, particularly as an entrepreneur. 

The researchers studied the professional trajectories of students majoring in STEM (science, technology, education, math) between 1990 and 1995. These graduates were much more likely than the average adult to participate in a wide variety of arts in childhood, including music and visual arts. Furthermore, childhood exposure to specific areas – such as photography – was predictive of future innovation (e.g., obtaining a patent). And persistence mattered – those who had sustained experiences in the arts were more innovative as measured by a number of indicators (e.g., patents, businesses created, professional publications).

While cause and effect is always slippery in these types of studies, it’s becoming clear that the processes that are encouraged in the arts in childhood – what the research team refers to as “out of the box” thinking skills that pull on imagination and creation – carry over to many different fields. So as we debate the utility of emphasizing (or even preserving) the arts in childhood, it continues to be important to remember that the arts promote what we most want for our kids – innovation and success.

Art Projects via

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