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Activities for a Possibly Gifted Child

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: What are some structured activities that could help my possibly gifted 7 years old son? He has not had any testing but his teacher last year believes he may be gifted. She describes him as thinking outside of the box, unique sense of humor and quirky. He loves science and likes non fiction books related to science.

Anyways they do not have any gifted program at school and we have struggled to engage him in activities. He is not good at sports, shy, extremely sensitive and a perfectionist. He does not like recess at schools and tells us he would rather stay in and read. Looking for anything to keep him busy and feel good about himself. This is hard for us as both my husband and I were involved with sports, loved recess as kids and don't understand him. Any ideas would be great!

A: There are many activities that would engage a 7-year old above average child. Some can be found here.

However, I feel that you need to get him to be physically active as well. It appears that he enjoys solitary activities a lot more and I do wonder since parents are both active in sports. Speak to the teachers and find out the reason he is not too keen on recess. Is someone bullying or belittling him at school? Being an extremely sensitive and shy child, he has made books his escape. While it is very beneficial for gifted children to read, it would be good to engage him in activities that involve others.

He needs to learn to socialise as that would help him a lot in time to come. It is a skill that all children need to learn with some help from adults especially if the child is naturally shy and sensitive. Being a perfectionist also does not help much as I believe he would rather not do something than to do it less than perfect. This may apply to sports as well - “if I can’t be as good as I should, I would rather stay away”. He certainly needs help to socialise and exposure is the best. Being in a sports team at school would be helpful. As parents, you need to help him be more resilient. It is not going to be easy but is crucial at this stage as it is just the beginning. Do talk to his teachers and the school counsellor perhaps. Get him play dates and get involved in the beginning. Gradually he will learn to make more friends and indulge in sporting and social activities.

If the school does not have a gifted education programme, speak to the teachers about challenging him much more. Better still, if you can help identify what challenges he needs to the extent to preparing worksheets of learning activities for high ability learners which can be easily downloaded from the Internet. This will also reduce the workload of the teacher and make her obliged to monitor since parents have done the hard work. As for activities, apart from the ones in the site given, introduce him to chess as well. It is very challenging and stimulating. Try to get him to do any activity that requires more physical stamina. In time, he will be more comfortable with sporting activities.

All the best in your journey!


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