What do you do when your child hates toys?
My 10-year old son does. My husband and I have spent all kinds of money on toys, sporting goods, gadgets, etc. Jack begrudgingly plays with them for a few minutes, but then wants to get back to technology.
As parents we worried, and as teachers, we knew that this could become an unhealthy obsession. But the thing is, Jack wants to know how to MAKE things. It’s not about mindlessly zapping an enemy on a video game.
It started off with Minecraft several years ago. Mining and building were not enough for him. Jack wanted to code, so he began using YouTube Kids to find out how to do it. My head would spin when he would explain to me how he was able to manipulate the game and make functional circuits.
His abilities in school are exceptional and his knack for problem solving is off the charts. All of Jack’s teachers have expressed their awe with him and his aptitude – especially in math. While his friends look up to sports heroes and superheroes, Jack admires Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Elon Musk.
This past year, an opportunity arose for Jack to audition for an NBC TV show called Genius Junior, a new game show hosted by Neil Patrick Harris that has the nation’s smartest kids competing against each other in teams.
Jack made it through many difficult rounds of logic puzzles, memorization, spelling, and math problems, via Skype with the casting director. They even flew us out to LA (when we were still living in Florida) for the final round. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the final cut, but the experience was enough for us to realize that Jack is gifted, and his love of technology is not a bad thing.
Currently, Jack is fascinated with a game called ROBLOX. However, he doesn’t just play the game, he creates games. He’s learning how to script with a language called Lua.
So, what does a 10-year old who hates toys want for Christmas? A week-long ROBLOX scripting camp at a technological university, where he can take his scripting abilities to the next level. Funny thing is – I’m not kidding!
NOTE: Jack also loves bike riding, swimming, running, reading about technology, science, math, and he plays the cello for his school’s orchestra.