Thinking outside the box will get your kid where he needs to go in life. Practical resourcefulness can mean success, even in the face of major frustration, because he'll be able to use the tools and materials at hand to create new solutions. Use hands-on activities to develop this useful skill in your child as you show him the possibilities that surround him every day.
1. Recycling and Repurposing
The concept of thinking about things in a new and different way – some call it “creative” thinking – is the crux of resourcefulness. With this in mind, create a recycling box where your family can toss an assortment of treasures. Inside this box, you might find an egg carton, an old shoe string, a sheet of stiff plastic, bubble wrap, a clean baby-food jar, a picture frame, rubber bands, plastic food containers or old fabric scraps. Take a peek into the box often with your little one and encourage imaginative and resourceful ways to make these old items into something new.
2. Learn Something New
Encourage an approach to life that embraces learning new concepts and skills. For example, if your little one watches you knit with keen interest, why not let him try it? Spool knitting with a special needle is ideal for little fingers so it’s a perfect alternative for little ones who want to learn how to knit. Help him get started and he might even start whipping out scarves and hats in no time. Don't be afraid to let your child try a number of different activities and show him how you can improve your skills using a number of different approaches. If your child likes to play outdoors, show him how a pine cone can be fun to practice kicking with when a ball isn't available, for example.
3. Teach Decision-Making
Use every opportunity that arises to teach decision-making. Decision-making is another time when resourcefulness rides in to save the day. Help your little one think about a situation and approach it creatively. Thinking through the pros and cons is also important for making a decision, so teach these skills, too. For example, if your child has an invitation to a birthday party on a day when Grandma and Grandpa will be visiting, what is a poor guy to do? Help him brainstorm possible solutions to his quandary that might involve going to the party but leaving early so he can hang out with Grams and Gramps.
4. Hit the Books
Once you get your little one on the path to resourceful thinking, reinforce this attitude by reading a few entertaining and imaginative story books. Try reading “Extra Yarn” by Mac Barnett, “Changes Changes” by Pat Hutchins, “One Cool Friend” by Toni Buzzeo, “Something Special” by Nicola Moon or “The Monster Returns” by Peter McCarty. Each story delivers a different situation where a child demonstrates a resourceful attitude to solve a problem.
- Metro Family Magazine: Resourcefulness
- The Values Book: Teaching 16 Basic Values to Young Children; Pam Byrne Schiller and Tamera Bryant
- NY Times: Picture Books About Resourceful Children
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