DadsforCreativity Talented and Gifted Child

3 Question Interview: Do you have a child who is Talented and Gifted?

A couple of years ago I become a member of the Connecticut Association of Gifted and Talented, I was particularly interested in this group of educators/parents because there was a desire to seek out opportunities to engage and cultivate creative thinking. Many of the educators were graduates from gifted and talented programs, where as the parents had children who had been identified as such. In my interaction with the latter, I came to realize some of the challenges and anxiety that exists for children who are talented and gifted, and more importantly the importance of intervention and support at an early age. – SCROLL DOWN FOR INTERVIEW.


If you’re a parent you might be interested in the following articles from DadsforCreativity: Introducing Design Thinking, Movie Making, 7 Ways to Cultivate Creativity at Home, Creativity in Education.


DadsforCreativity Talented and Gifted
Taking your children on a nature walk helps engage their curiosity for the world and is one of my 7 ways to cultivate Creativity at home.

Unfortunately, many schools lack the resources or training to adequately accommodate talented and gifted students, including the many who have an innate desire to create and make – I firmly believe parents of talented and gifted children can benefit from some of the content shared at, but I think it’s important that they primarily seek out a community of parents and educators who are not only subject matter experts, but also experienced in having a child who is talented and gifted.

Don’t forget to Follow us on Facebook! We want more likes!


Do you have a child who is Talented and Gifted? One of the things to consider throughout this process is your child’s happiness and well-being, I encourage you to get informed, ask lots of questions, and locate resources in your area. Below is a 3 Question Interview, from the Connecticut Association of Gifted and Talented (CAG), it primarily contains resources for parents who suspect there children might be gifted and talented, or have been alerted to the possibility from experienced preschool or elementary school teachers.



How do we define a child who is talented and gifted?

There are many definitions as to what makes a child ‘Talented and Gifted’ but there is no concise, universal definition:

From the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC): “Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports). Nearly every state has its own definition of gifted and talented students.  – See more here:

From the Davidson Institute for Talent Development: Many parents say, “I know what giftedness is, but I can’t put it into words.” This generally is followed by reference to a particular child who seems to manifest gifted behaviors. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions of the term, all of which become deterrents to understanding and catering to the needs of children identified as gifted. Let’s study the following statement:

“Giftedness is that precious endowment of potentially outstanding abilities which allows a person to interact with the environment with remarkably high levels of achievement and creativity.”

From Hoagie’s Gifted:  What is giftedness?  There is no universal definition.  Some professionals define “gifted” as an intelligence test score above 130, two or more standard deviations above the norm, or the top 2.5%.  Others define “gifted” based on scholastic achievement: a gifted child works 2 or more grade levels above his or her age.  Still others see giftedness as prodigious accomplishment: adult-level work while chronologically a child.  But these are far from the only definitions.

Former U. S. Commissioner of Education Sidney P. Marland, Jr., in his August 1971 report to Congress, stated:

“Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance. These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society”.

Talented and Gifted - Little Bits
There’s lots of toys that encourage children of all ages and talents to create and make. One of my favorites is Little Bits

What should parents do if they suspect their child might be Talented and Gifted?

There are many types of tests available if you suspect your child might be G/T. Identifying G/T students is mandated in the State of Connecticut so many public schools test for G/T, usually beginning in the third grade. For parents who don’t want to wait until their child is in third grade, or who don’t want to rely solely on the school’s assessment, there are independent testing resources available and the Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG) has a list of resources to share, all you need do is reach out to and ask for our list of testing resources. For a list of national and international resources, check Hoagies’ Gifted’s psychologists page here.

What are some of the resources available for parents of a Talented and Gifted child?

Minds in Motion™ events take place an average of 8-10 times per year in various locations around the state of Connecticut from fall through spring. Minds in Motion™ is the Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG)’s signature enrichment series which offers exciting, fast-paced, interactive workshops for every child with every interest, Kindergarten – 8th grade on Saturday afternoons.

Adults can attend thought-provoking, special-interest workshops and a keynote free of charge at every MIM™ event. At Minds in Motion™ adults will also receive free literature, network with fellow parents, and learn about resources, after-school programs, camps, books, and other educational tools beneficial to your child. There are also many other resources available too, some of which have their own programs and tools. Some of these resources include: AEGUS – Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students, CT State Department of Education – Gifted and talented resource page, CTY – Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth, Eric Digests – Repository for materials from the former ERIC Clearinghouse, NAGC- National Association for Gifted Children, Neag – UConn’s Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. SENG- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted and – Smart Kids With Learning Disabilities. There are so many others. Check CAG’s list here.

The interview above has been shortened – for the original interview click here.

CE_FREEMOVIEV3FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance, is a documentary film that explores Creativity in education. The film is available on Amazon or can be access for free by simply commenting below or subscribing here.




7_Ways_to_Cultivate_Creativity_for_ParentsFREE BOOK on Cultivating Creativity

7 Ways to Cultivate Creativity is a FREE eBook for parents who want are looking for ideas on how to cultivate creative thinking skills at home. Subscribe here to download the book.

Read More

bill Illustrating creatdad (2)

Drawing for Kids: Tips from Artist and Illustrator, Bill Dougal


Lets talk about Drawing for Kids – Kids like to Draw! They start scribbling at around 18 months and don’t really care too much about the final product – the process of drawing and seeing marks appear on the page is enough for them to get hooked. Later most will begin to use shapes and color selection to represent objects and people. I still have some of Lucas’s early drawings, and you can see genuine attempts to represent characters from Thomas and Friends. I use the word ‘genuine attempt’ because often I would challenge him to draw a character, but sometimes our little ones might just be drawing at random, and only recognize meaning to their creation ‘after’ it appears in front of them. What I found is that it’s important to ask questions about their work and engage them in dialogue. ‘What’s this?’ or ‘Who do we know who is this color?’ are nice simple questions to get the conversation started with little ones.

See Also: 7 Easy Tips to Turn Kids Drawings into Movies

I can’t remember Lucas’s age, but I made a note of what he said each item was. You can see clearly that he uses color to distinguish between shapes.

I’ve been really interested in how drawing has played into Lucas’s creative development. His imagination regularly plays out on the page and one of his favorite activities continues to be making stories. My wife sometimes shows him YouTube videos of how to draw an animal and I have found some cool drawing apps from the Apple App Store. One of my favorites is the Mastermind Kit from OSMO, which combines technology with traditional drawing styles on paper. This is important as Lucas is not a fan of drawing on the iPad itself and likes the feel (or perhaps freedom) of a pencil and paper.

Don’t forget to Follow us on Facebook! We want more likes!


Observing Lucas I feel there are two parallels in play – one is the creation of a story and the other is the development of drawing skills. Last month I pumped into Artist and Illustrator Bill Dougal, who has over thirty years of experience as a professional artist, specializing in Caricature Drawing and Advertising for children’s books. I asked Bill to provide some advice on how parents might better cultivate drawing skills in our little ones.

Why do you think most children like to draw? For example, my boy loves to act out stories on paper. I’ve introduced him to some great apps on the iPad, but he keeps coming back to the crayon.

“Making a mark” in the world may be a basic human desire. Perhaps it proves ones’s existence, and a quality of uniqueness. Young kids want to try things out. A child thinking, “ Let’s see if I can draw a circle.”, is like he or she thinking, “Let’s see if I can jump from the chair to the sofa.”

How does the act of drawing engage Creative Thinking Skills in children? More importantly, is there a way to expand upon these skills?

Once you draw a line, you have to think how the next one should be. Options include placement, size, shape, style etc.

Are their any drawing techniques or styles that you think parents can introduce to their children at an early age?

Picture making skills can be advanced if the child understands the process. Steps include; idea, planning drawing, assessment, chances, and finishing. This may be advanced for the very young. A simpler version is; Draw something, think how it can be better, then draw it again.

Tots can explore examples of variety. For instance, different kinds of lines, i.e. scribbly, jaggedy, dashed etc. They could also try different kinds of compositions, i.e. sparse, busy, or weighted to various areas of the paper.

You can learn more about Bill’s website on his website

CE_FREEMOVIEV3COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance. is a documentary film that explores Creativity in education. To gain FREE access, simply comment below and we’ll follow up with a link and password.


Read More

Science Ideas for Kids

Science for Kids: 3 Question Interview with Science Wiz, Marc Balanda


A few weekends back I went to a kid’s birthday party. It was a family friend and I was looking forward to it in the same way I look forward to all kid parties, though I confess I wasn’t expecting anything different or out the norm – but then out walked a Wacky Scientist. I didn’t recognize him at first, but on closer expectation I realized it was the Dad of the Birthday Boy.

Marc Balanda, who recently became principal of Brookfield High School in CT, started his career as a General Science and Biology teacher, thanks to him he says his son has a genetic predisposition to scientific concepts, so he decided to tap into his old skills and put on an awesome birthday party. After seeing things explode, expand, and change color, I figured we need a DadsforCreativity 3 Question Interview on how parents can better promote science for kids.

See Also: Daddy! I need more Input

Why do young kids love Science?

Kids are inherently curious about everything around them; they are always looking for answers to their questions. Children always  ask “why” and in some cases adults don’t know how to answer. If it is a question about the natural world and the behavior of the things in it, Science gives them what they are so desperately seeking, an answer. That only spawns more questions, that lead to unanswered questions, and hopefully more investigation. It is hard for me to understand why adults don’t like Science more, it gives us something we are looking for, answers!

Don’t forget to Follow us on Facebook! We want more likes! 


In what ways can parents engage young children in Science?

It really doesn’t take much to peak a child’s interest in the natural and physical world.  In many cases it doesn’t cost a thing.  Engaging kids in talk about what you know, or if you are risky what you might not know, gets them to ask questions, hypothesize, and test solutions.  Celery (w/leaves), food coloring, and water.  You can have a conversation about how plants “drink”.  Potato slices, salt, and water.  You can have a conversation about osmosis.  At bathtime, put a crumpled tissue in the bottom of a cup, flip it over, and submerge with a steady hand.  Ask your child, what happens to the tissue?  Slowly take it out of the water to reveal a dry tissue.  Ask why that happened.  Instant air pressure lesson!  There are tons of links to at home science on the Internet.  The more you show them, the more they want you to show them and do themselves.  

I have failed in my attempts to make a Volcano. I need help! Looking forward to trying this one.
I have failed in my attempts to make a Volcano. I need help! Looking forward to trying this one.

Ok – this question is for me. How do I make something explode like a volcano – I’m talking really REALLY big!

It really depends on the concentration of hydrogen peroxide solution you have available to you.  It will work with the usual brown bottle at your house but on a smaller scale.  I went to a beauty supply store and got 40-volume hair developer which is roughly 12% H2O2  compared to the 3% in the brown bottle.  The empty bottle has the hydrogen peroxide, food coloring (for effect), and dish soap (to increase bubbles made).  Putting the yeast into hot water “activates” them (they are living organisms) and when they go into the hydrogen peroxide solution, then the magic happens.  The yeast acts as a catalyst (speeds up a reaction) that causes the hydrogen peroxide to rapidly lose an oxygen molecule.  That molecule quickly rises through the dish soap (like blowing a bubble). Combine thousands of those reactions in a split second and you create the “volcano”.  Interestingly, the decomposition of the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide means a chemical bond is broken and the energy has to go somewhere.  In this case, it is heat, which is why this is considered an exothermic reaction!  Be careful with the hydrogen peroxide…it is a chemical that you don’t want to get on your hands or in your eyes.

CE_FREEMOVIEV3COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance. is a documentary film that explores Creativity in education. To gain FREE access, simply comment below and we’ll follow up with a link and password.


Read More

12194260_10153394367498821_1074555849_o (1)

Photography and Creativity: What’s the Connection? 3 Question Interview with Photographer, Dan Kane


It’s been argued that we live in the ‘Age of the Image’, where our ability to decode and capture visuals are now a necessity in order to communicate information. Not only is photography a powerful art form, but also a storytelling one as well. I’ve been slowly trying to introduce Lucas to Photography, but because I’m awful at taking photos I don’t really know where to start. Dan Kane is a Photographer, who took some absolutely awesome photos during our first real family shoot at the beginning of October – I asked Dan to participate in our DadsforCreativity 3 Question Interview, and give me some pointers on how to introduce photography to young children.

SEE ALSO: 3 Question Interview with Daddy Stop Motion Animator

Photography and Creativity – what’s the connection?

I was 13 years old when I got my first camera. As I started taking photographs, I found myself using my eyes differently as I was constantly seeking out interesting patterns, textures, colors and people. I had always loved to sketch and draw, but my camera gave me the chance to be creative in a new way as I documented things that I saw in my everyday life. I would constantly test myself to come up with a new angle or approach to a subject that might otherwise not be very interesting.

Dan's daughter helps him add some final tweaks to our family photo!
Dan’s daughter helps him add some final tweaks to our family photo!

In what ways can parents introduce young children to photography?

My two daughters (ages 5 and 7) have already expressed an interest in photography and I encourage it by giving them “assignments” with my old point and shoot camera. For instance, I’ve had them shoot portraits of their favorite stuffed animal, seek out examples of a certain shape or texture or take “action” photos of our cats. Occasionally, they sit with me as I’m editing and we discuss composition. It’s fun for them and I love that they take an interest in my work!

How can parents cultivate creative thinking skills within these introductory type activities?

It’s important to always remain positive and focus on interesting elements of the pictures your kids will take. They won’t all be great, but as long as they keep shooting, their eye will develop quickly. You might even see them gravitating towards a particular type of photography like nature, portraits or even abstract subjects. Don’t get bogged down in trying to teach them the technical aspects early on. Just let them shoot and have fun!

I bought my eldest a VTech Kidizoom Connect Camera. Here he's trying to snatch a picture of a giraffe!
I bought my eldest a VTech Kidizoom Connect Camera. Here he’s trying to snatch a picture of a giraffe!

You can see some of Dan’s work on his website at

Dan – thanks for participating in our Dads for Creativity, 3 Question Interview. A big take away from this interview is less on the technical and more on making time to review the pictures my little one taken and together identify interesting things that’s been captured!

CE_FREEMOVIEV3COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance. is a documentary film that explores Creativity in education. To gain FREE access, simply comment below and we’ll follow up with a link and password.

Read More