I know, I know. It's summer, and kids want to keep the ultimate separation of school and play intact. But since they're going to be on their tablets and phones playing Minecraft or Candy Crush, why not inspire a new addiction? One that might fuel a new interest, spark inspiration or innovation, or stimulate their growing brains in a new way.

I'm talking about the TED Talks series we've all come to know and love. Yes, those addiction-inducing videos that manage to suck you into the TED Talks rabbit hole.

I'm not suggesting this displace good old fashioned outdoor play, but when temperatures get too hot, TED has created a playlist just for kids. These range from future-changing at best and just really, really cool at worst - parents even find intrigue in these. These could even spark a new entrepreneurial endeavor.

Play-Doh and robotics. The two haven't always gone hand in hand, until AnnMarie Thomas showed us otherwise. Even if your child is too young to grasp the science behind these homemade gizmos, get ready to play the part of engineer when they ask you to help build them their own light-up piece of clay toy wonder.

How in the world...? Is what you'll find your flabbergasted child muttering when they watch this very meta magic video from Lennart Green. What separates this routine from your average magician YouTuber is the way Green spins the psychology of his tricks into the very performing of them - narrating his inner monologue in such a charming way you forget that he's pulling one over on you.

Willard Wigan wanted to give ants a home. So he used everything from teddy bears to sweatshirts to build a chateau on the head of a pin. And that was just the start of his microscopic art adventure. If you want to encourage your child that no idea is too strange or small to matter, Wigan's talk (which is as wryly funny as it is inspiring) is a good place to start.

Animator Jim Toomey tells the story of the moment he began his lifelong fascination with underwater life, and how he combined his passion for the sea with his other loves - art and conservation - to tell stories that expose issues like plastic marine debris and shark finning. Some children never realize that they can make a difference with their interests, and this talk helps to change that thought early on.

For parents and kids alike. Adora Svitak's classic, mic-dropping speech makes one thing clear: don't underestimate the power of a childlike mind. Use this talk to remind your child that they have ideas worth their weight in gold, and by continuing to push forward with them their voices will be heard by someone. And when adults take chances on kids, the results become more than either expected.

There's nothing wrong with being shy. In fact, there's power in it. Unfortunately, many kids learn this fact too late (or never learn it at all), caving under the pressure of "fitting in" with their more boisterous, outgoing peers. Navigating a world in which kids want so desperately to be understood while being guarded at every turn can be tough, but Susan Cain makes an inspiring case for why the world needs people like your introverted child.

Published on: Jun 22, 2016