Hobbies for Gifted Children

Home was such a fun place to be when I was growing up. There was always something to do. My parents encouraged every interest any of us had. My older brother was interested in the weather, building models, HO gauge trains, beekeeping, and sailing.

Rich kept a small ringed notebook and every day he cut the weather map out of the paper and pasted it in. Using the thermometers and barometers in the house, he recorded the high and low temperatures and the air pressure. He made his own predictions of the short and long-term forecasts and also noted whether he had been correct on the previous day.

Model airplanes that Rich built hung from the ceiling in his bedroom and the dresser was covered with ships he had assembled.

While in elementary school, he saved his money from his paper route to start buying HO gauge trains. In the basement he created a setup of plywood that rested on wooden horses. On this platform rested the layout that he created. He built every house, created every tree and road, and constructed every bridge on that layout.

When he was in junior high school, Rich started beekeeping and eventually had four hives. He would harvest the honey and sell it to friends and family. He had an arrangement with the school principal to let him out of school whenever a swarm left a hive so he could retrieve it.

Rich first experimented with sailing by fastening a rig on an old aluminum rowboat. In junior high, he took over the family’s one-car garage and built a two-man wooden sailboat from scratch.

We all had collections of rocks, shells, and butterflies. I learned how to sew, knit, and crochet. Everyone learned how to play at least one instrument. We had hobbies that required a financial investment, but we also had many hobbies that didn’t cost a penny.

Parents have come to me, concerned that their child is very bored in school. One of the first things I ask is what the child likes to do at home. Occasionally, a parent will reply that this is a big problem because the child isn’t interested in anything. When I hear this answer, I worry. I’m not sure how to help a child who is interested in nothing. If, however, the parent starts rattling off all kinds of interests that the child has at home, I have great hope that we can work with these interests to change the way things work at school. I strongly encourage all parents to expose their kids to a wide variety of interests and hobbies.

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, a hobby is a "specialized pursuit (as stamp collecting, painting, woodworking, gardening) that is outside one's regular occupation and that one finds particularly interesting and enjoys doing usually in a nonprofessional way as a source of leisure-time relaxation; broadly: any favorite pursuit or interest." While hobbies benefit all kids, gifted children can really benefit from them. Hobbies broaden the interests of children, inspire new ways of thinking, release stress, and enhance competence. They also encourage tenacity, organization, and creative thinking.

It is important for parents to have interests and hobbies of their own, but parents should not expect their children to share their same interests. Respect children in their desire to try new things. Support them as they explore different areas.

As always, the Internet is full of support and ideas. The following may be helpful:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments will be available after approval.