Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Innovations At Its Best

Somehow my girls always prove to me that no science experiments are needed to add a touch of innovation to their lives. They are born with it. What is innovation after all? Do we need complex science labs to encourage it? For me innovation is really about " out of the box " thinking. To come up with a solution for a problem in the most uncommonest of the ways . We somehow tend to think innovation as this complex process requiring hi-fi gadgets etc..But my girls have taught me otherwise.  And one of the best ways to preserve and encourage innovation is to just let kids be kids in their natural environment and then the fun starts.
There are plenty of innovations happening all the time in our "home-lab" but some of the more recently observed innovations:
1. The way my girls dress up their dolls with their own clothes. It really surprises me. I was thinking of doing a "lets stitch dresses for the dolls" project and I'm glad like a zillion other things I never got to it. The sisters realized that their own closet provides a wide-array of choices for the doll's clothing needs. I've seen them using their panties- one of the bum area's clothing is used as the dress for the body and the other one covers the head like a scarf, skirts- the entire skirt is used like a frock with the string tied up around the neck to hold up the skirt, frocks- the upper part of the frock is tied around the neck to hold up the weight , socks-used as pants, swimwear- used like frocks ..the list is endless literally! Will take photos in the future to prove my case effectively!
2. Few days back the girls went down to the park for a early morning mud play. They took lotsa plastic containers, buckets , lotsa water etc..i was sensing some real action and it turned out to be so. They came up with an amazing creation- they had made birthday cakes for their dolls. They had filled the small plastic buckets with mud ( this was the chocolate cake) , covered it with a layer of white flowers ( for the cream) and then bang at the center was a bright pick little flower for the cherry! Wow- if this isn't innovation , what is?
3. We were out with the Hardikar gang and their friend for a outing in Empress Gardens. We did our usual round of activities and then the kids ran off to play in the canal. In it was lying a half-torn football. I looked at it and shunned the very act- how could one use the canal water as trash! But the kids saw somthng else in it. They divided themselves into 2 teams- Ram, Chellu on one side , Kabir & Kunju on the other with the 3rd boy in the middle. The kids wanted to use the half-torn ball as a ball but how? They quickly figured that if filled with the right amount of water it would easily fly across! So after a few trials & errors they were having a gala time playing ball with a half-torn football filled to the right amount with water! Wow..now if this isn't innovation, what is? If this isn't experimentation what is?

All the above activities had a problem, observations in the immediate environment , research, experimentation with existing objects, fine-tuning the available solution and then coming up with a solution. I would guess most scientists went through this exact process! And we think we need encyclopedias and robotics classes to make our children into future scientists!! Let kids be just kids and you will see a lot of innovation happening automatically! And somehow I'm always inclined to think that this is true education.

We need to prepare our kids to know " How to think rather than " what to think?" The latter Q is just facts which the current education system lays great stress on but the former part is the vital part. Who knows what kind of problems our kids will need to face in their adult lives? Will the environment be the same? will social & financial systems be the same? how can we assume that what we know today is sufficient to equip them for tomorrow? That the facts that are being fed into their brains today will provide them with solutions 20 / 30/40 yrs down the line? Rather dosen't it make more sense to let them think for themselves as to HOW TO COLLECT AND USE INFORMATION/FACTS around them for whatever little problems they face on a day-to-day basis? In that sense the effective use of a half-torn football to meet one's needs is hugely significant! Looking forward to many more such innovations display..really nothing can beat HSing!! :)))

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