Start Them Young

Potential for great creativty

In these recent posts in which I’ve offered tips on raising entrepreneurial girls, I’ve suggested ways to foster their curiosity, encourage girls to remain idealistic (and to use that idealism to push themselves creatively), and to embrace and learn from failure.

Here I look at an important tip for raising an entrepreneurial girl: start quite young. How old must girls be before they’re ready to learn entrepreneurial skills? Should they be 10 years old, or 8?

Try age 5.

Here’s a prime example from VentureLab. One 5-year-old student at VentureLab had a problem that kept landing her in time-out. She shared it with the other pint-sized participants in her entrepreneur camp. “I get in trouble for eating Play-Doh,” she said. “My mommy says it’s bad for my tummy.”

Others chimed in when she said this, agreeing that, yes, eating Play-Doh could be a problem. This prompted a spirited discussion among the group: If Play-Doh is so bad for you to eat, why is it so irresistible? And what can we do about it? Even children who had never been daring enough to taste Play-Doh had seen other children do it. Something about Play-Doh made it seem like a food choice. Could these children think of possible solutions that could keep their classmates out of trouble?

Out of the fertile minds of 5-year-olds sprang the idea of “edible Play-Doh.”

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