Ages & Stages: 6- 10: Discovering Your Child’s Talents

All of us dream of our child excelling in music, sports or the art world. Whether or not he scores the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl or paints an award-winning landscape, we can help our child find and develop his talents.

Expose your child to a variety of experiences.
A 6- or 7-year-old is curious about the world around him and will delight in new experiences. Introduce your child to museums, craft fairs, concerts, sports events, zoos and other places in your area. Watch for signs of interest. Does your son’s eyes light up during a saxophone solo at a jazz concert? Does your daughter eye the needlework with delight at a crafts fair? Or maybe your son shows signs of interest while exploring craft tables and your daughter delights in boxing. Listen for “I wish I could make this” or “I wish I knew how to do that.”
Use library books and video tapes to expose your child to things not available in your community.

Provide opportunities.
Follow up on your child’s interests. Look for a craft class or judo class at your YMCA. Find someone to teach your child to play the guitar or play chess. Your child might quickly lose interest in one thing while pursuing another passionately. Allow for this — a young child isn’t ready to specialize in or master one activity. Exposure to many different activities will let him explore his interests and potential. Watercolor class may not have held your child’s interest but painting ceramics might keep him occupied for hours.

Look for areas of strength.
Is your child an organizer? Does he manipulate small pieces well? Does your daughter display unusual coordination? Does your child analyze, calculate and problem solve well? Look for your child’s strengths. List them. Then list the activities that your child has shown an interest in. The key to finding an area your child will succeed in is to match an area of interest with areas of strength and skill. A child with an analytical mind who prefers quiet activities may be ready for simple chess. A child who manipulates small pieces well might want to try creating items such as hot plates out of small tile pieces or building with small nuts and bolts. If your child has an eye for art but doesn’t have the fine motor skills to manipulate a paint brush, invest in an inexpensive camera. Be creative.
Your child’s world and interests are expanding in these early school years. With your help and support your child can discover his talents and build on them This will give him an area of expertise later in life and will boost his self-esteem.

Here are some activities you may want to introduce your child to.
Arts & crafts
ceramics
mosaics
weaving
watercolor
needlepoint
wood burning
leather work
sketching
stencils
cross stitch
cooking
baking

Science world
butterfly collecting
rock collecting
leaf collecting
shell collecting
chemistry
marine life
astronomy

Games/misc.
chess
checkers
scrabble
stamp collecting
coin collecting
journaling
story writing
story telling
puppetry
magic

Sports
soccer
baseball
swimming
tennis
basketball
T-ball
bmx racing
roller skating
ice skating
martial arts

Music
guitar
piano
keyboard
violin
singing
dance
ballet
 

Katrina Cassel, M.Ed., lives with her husband, five of their children and an assortment of pets in the Florida panhandle.