Five Offline Resources for Gifted Kids

September 9, 2014

In this fabulous age of technology, it is easy to get swept up into the many online resources for kids, parents, and teachers. We’ve even featured a few here, including podcasts and educational websites for gifted kids as well as TEDTalks for parents. There are so many resources out there, though, that have existed for many, many years and can be just as good as – if not better than – those online. So, here are some great resources for gifted kids that might seem obvious but are often overlooked.

1. Your Local Public Library

Resources for gifted kids
The library can be an amazing source of information for the gifted child. (Photo credit: Mr Moss via photopin cc)

Many parents of gifted children are extremely grateful for public libraries. For our voracious readers, it can be extremely costly to purchase books at the rate at which they read them, not to mention the amount of space it takes to store them. Public libraries allow these kids access to a wide variety of books at no cost. They also have resources that would be more difficult to get elsewhere, including archives and reference materials. Additionally, the library is a great place to casually browse collections and stumble upon new finds in the safety of age- or genre-specific sections. Many libraries these days also provide online portals to rent ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital materials for our tech-loving set.

2. Mentors

Resources for gifted kids
An Apprenticeship Mentor shows high school students a design portfolio in a discussion about the industrial design field

Gifted students crave depth and challenge in their area of interest, which they often do not receive in the traditional classroom. They don’t want to merely memorize facts; they want to watch as subject matter comes to life. Mentoring often allows gifted students the opportunity to see practical applications in their field of interest and can provide the depth and challenge they need. In addition to creating academic challenge not present in the traditional classroom, mentors can provide gifted students with career guidance or other similar counsel.

3. Other Gifted Kids

Resources for gifted kids
Gifted kids spend their free time at lunch observing nature and discussing what they see

It is important for your gifted child to understand that he or she is not alone, that there are other gifted children out there. Other gifted children with similar experiences or interests can provide a world of comfort for your child, and they can be a great source of support, friendship, and information. Seek out a group or a program for gifted kids – IEA offers several – for your child to attend, even if only for a summer. If this is not possible in person, the internet and technology make it much easier for our gifted kids to connect with each other despite geographic separation.

4. Extracurricular Activities

Resources for gifted children
An Academy student shows off his project in a course on woodcut and woodblock printing

Encourage your gifted child’s passions through clubs, camps, or classes. Even if certain programs are not specifically created for gifted kids, they might still serve to challenge your child while feeding his or her interests, academic or otherwise. It could be dance, music, robotics, creative writing, chess, math, art – the list goes on. Often gifted kids will have so many different interests that it will be difficult to pick just one, but you can try to find one that fuses many interests together or rotate activities throughout the year. These activities can be expensive; look into activities offered through local nonprofit organizations, your city, nearby community centers, your child’s school, local meet-ups, and the like to find lower cost options.

5. Volunteer Work

Resources for gifted kids
Students volunteer to build houses for those in need

Many gifted children are passionate about making a difference in the world, and volunteer work can fuse many interests and passions while challenging your child to grow in new ways. Though it can be difficult to find opportunities for young children to volunteer in certain capacities, there are plenty of opportunities out there in many different fields of interest, so don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts at helping your child volunteer are unsuccessful. Kids can also start their own volunteer projects based around their passions. Gifted kids have done amazing things on their own – from coordinating donations for those in need to writing letters to politicians advocating for change. Regardless of the opportunity, volunteer work allows gifted children to make an impact while also providing invaluable learning opportunities.

What are your favorite offline resources or activities for gifted kids? Please share in the comment section below.

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