How do you tell if 3-year old is gifted?

Grace - posted on 10/17/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )




My daughter who is 3 can finish a 43-puzzle map-of-the-world by herself. She can also finish very easily 24-pieces puzzles in a mere few minutes. Her drawings of faces include details of eyes, eyelashes, different coloured hair (highlights I presume), ears, smile, nose, cheeks, neck. By 2 she had already learned her alphabets and that was only because I sat down to introduce the alphabets to her only a few times.

If she is gifted, what should I do? Apart from puzzles and letting her draw freely, what can I do to stimulate her intellectually, talent-wise etc? She doesn't go to preschool so I have to guide her as much as I can.


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Being on the road is an amazing learning experience! Maps, road signs, and the obvious of being surrounded by music! Do you a vehicle, or kind of trapped in a tour bus? While visiting various cities, take your daughter to the local children's museums, and put your 4 month old in a baby sling/carrier. Short nature hikes is also something to do with both kids, and your daughter can pick up on the local enviornment. Here are some very easy, and kid friendly 4 year old kitchen "experiments" dealing with properties of water:
*Buy various food colors, plastic see through cups, and medicine droppers. Have her mix various colors to make new colors (ya know, blue & yellow make green)
Layer the water-colored water, corn syrup on top....try to drop various objects to see what sink or what floats
Oil & colored water i na plastic water bottle, try shake them up and separate them! Add glitter for sparklies!
Try freezing a variety of liquids in an ice cube tray: plain water, salted water, water with oil or vinegar, water mixed with orange juice, etc. Have her make predictions what will freeze 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Check every 15 minutes.
Visit the local libraries when you are in different towns. And try to invest in pre-K science experiment books.

My son is now into simple machines, inclined plances, and pulley/lever systems. Very easy to get a few cardboard boxes, cut at different lengths, and he uses a stop watch to time his Matchbox cars racing. Also, we learned about aerodynamics by cutting up a few dixie cups and "flying" them over a floor fan. Balloon experiments are also a good tool, and artsy if you want to get messy and due some paper mache' projects! All fun stuff-good luck!

[deleted account]

I was actually going to suggest getting her enrolled in preschool or other specialty art classes. Even though she is instructed and guided by you, at 3 years old she s more than ready to creatively play with other children. Creative play is so vital to development and even scaffolding on to previously learned skills. At 3 years old, there is no need, in my professional opinion to get her academicially or intellectually assessed for any gifted area. (I am a Gifted Endorsed teacher, and completed all of my Geraduate degree research in Gifted Education) Truly gifted toddlers also pose another challenge becasue they are asynchronus to their peers-meaning their chronological age of 3 years, 4 months is out of sync with their academic age, maybe 6 years, 2 months. The challenge is to keep that toddler active, and engaged. Creative play is always a great solution becasue kids can play and absorb knowledge at the same time. In-home science experiments, make your own books, collect leaves, and create a display case, then read all about the leaves and trees they came from. But it's also important to be surrounded by peer group kids, other 3 or 4 year olds to learn to be a kid! Best of luck to you!

Renae - posted on 10/17/2010




There is a community on here for mums of gifted children. The ladies in that community know A LOT about giftedness. You will get lots of helpful answers if you post a question there.


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Tiffany - posted on 03/27/2011




My lil Tati is 3 and she wants to model sing and act she remembers lines that me and my cousin Ashley Teach her she poses and always comes up with some new pose she sings and she dances and Ashley a Professional Praise Dancer and Rapper by the name of Bella V taught her a dance and my baby performed it step by step with no assistance at church where can I take her as far as agencies in Atlanta Ga

Grace - posted on 10/19/2010




Tracey, thanks for your suggestion. The teachers travel with us, but school is only for kids from 6 years onwards. Well, my daughter did have some lessons. One of the mummy acrobat gave free lessons which was great fun. Then an actress held some fun drama/puppet/singing classes. Then recently a ballerina was teaching ballet lessons. So on and off there are stuff going on, but it's not there all the time. The difficult thing is that many of the kids are multicultural, hence, multilingual. So not all the kids speak English. In fact, the English speaking kids are the minority. There are Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Georgian kids etc. Funny thing is that my child picks up a little bit of foreign language whenever we are in a new country. She counts in German for fun, for eg.

Grace - posted on 10/19/2010




Yeah, I've been trying to bring her to museums, parks, beaches etc, whichever is unique to that city/country. I doubt she'll remember that she had seen a Picasso, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, etc masterpiece at age 2 or 3. Or that she had come up close to a 2000-year old Egyptian artefact, life-sized statue of a Buddha, or that she had lived in major cities of the world. One day when she is old enough to understand I'll remind her she had been to these places. So that's why I'm looking for little things that she can remember....

Sneaky - posted on 10/18/2010




Trying to think out side the box a bit: are there other families with children that travel with your group? Even if there are only one or two other kids that are in the same age 'bracket' (like 2-5) that should be enough to start your own pre-school group on the road. It IS about social skills, but it also things like learning how to move on from one activity to the next, how to go from a preferred activity to one that is not so well liked, learning self help (like being able to ask a teacher for help if needed) and interacting with other adults in preparation for school. If there are only two or three children in this age group then you can keep it informal (e.g. the parents take turns to run one pre-school class a week) but if there is more maybe you could explore the possibility of the company hiring a qualified pre-school teacher to travel with the group?

Just out of curiosity, what will happen when she is old enough for school? Will you home school her or be expected to give up your lifestyle and settle somewhere? If the company your husband works for already has educational facilities in place for older children there is no reason why they should not make pre-school available too.

I hope that idea helps!

PS I am soooooo jealous of your life style! :o)

[deleted account]

Here is a website full of at-home educational activities you can do with your daughter. Maybe it will help you keep her intellectually stimulated while on the road!

And I would take full advantage of being on the road. What an amazing learning opportunity! Make observations and charts of the different vegetation and wildlife and climates you see and experience while traveling. Take full advantage of all the cultural elements of each city you visit (museums, food, traditions, music, history). Read books that take place in whichever city you happen to be in (children's fiction, or even guide books). Then go try to find the landmarks from the books! You can do a lot of compare and contrast of the different places you visit. Maybe you can make a geographical collage. Get a huge map of the country and put pictures and mementos from each place on it. That will help her connect the geography and map to her experiences.

Even if you can't put her in traditional pre-school, perhaps you can find out if there are local children's activities where ever you happen to be that day or week. That way she can socialize with other children.

Angie - posted on 10/18/2010




She has been exposed to amazing things and has been blessed with a mother who can spend a lot of time with her. Little ones are sponges and can learn so much. Take advantage of this time with her. She's got a great start, keep doing what you're doing but try to give her some time with other toddlers so she can grow socially as well.

Jenn - posted on 10/18/2010




Yeah, I think it's a bit early to tell anything yet - but it never hurts to nurture a child's love for learning new things. My son was also very good at figuring out large puzzles on his own at that age, but perhaps there are other things that other kids do a bit "better" than he does. I think they all develop different skills at different stages.

Grace - posted on 10/18/2010




Wow thanks Sharon! I'm going to actually try to do the things you mentioned. Oh, we don't do trailers, it's more like living in serviced apartments. We travel with Cirque so my daughter has been living in different cities in different countries ever since she's born. And she's exposed to acrobats, musicians, clowns, technicians etc as well other kids of Cirque employees. So she's born into a lifestyle that's very different from other "conventional" lifestyles.

Amanda - posted on 10/17/2010




Being gifted cant be decided by puzzles, it takes IQ tests done by professionals to figure this out. In my school board they did not test my children until grade 3. They had to do 3 different tests, before they decided how to handle my brat lol. So keep teaching your child and wait it out.

Kelina - posted on 10/17/2010




Also try the park and other things while you're in various communities, that way she can learn to interact well with other children her age as well. See if they have a mom's program that you can take your kids to in lots of different communities. In our community they have something called strong start, but it's in lots of different communities thorughout BC. Just an idea. Good luck!

JuLeah - posted on 10/17/2010




It can be hard to tell at this age. She might be doing all of this because you have spent time and worked with her. Had she been in a different family, she might not be doing any of this stuff. Things level out a bit by 2nd or 3rd grade.
Play with her, love her, take joy in her .... if she is gifted and has needs beyond all that you do already, time will reveal that to you.
Knowing the letters of the alphabet is great, but knowing the sounds each letter makes will be what she needs to read. Play sound, rhyming, games.
Can you put her in pre-school? It might be a good thing for her. Social skills are what she needs to develop at this age. They are as important, if not more so, then knowing her ABC's

Grace - posted on 10/17/2010




Thanks for your comment. She doesn't go to preschool because we live "on the road", her father being a musician so we travel with a mega-entertainment company. Also I have a 4 month old baby so I'm maxed out all the time. I used to engage her all the time but now I'm mostly tired caring for 2 kids, but I don't want to waste her potential, if she has any. I suppose I have to get her materials for older kids and see how she deals with them - such as science experiments as you mentioned.

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