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10 Best TED Talks for Kids

By Lisa Hayden / May 16, 2020
10 Best TED Talks for Kids

10 Best TED Talks for Kids

Have you ever heard of TED? Not the Teddy Bear Ted or other characters you hear with the same monicker. TED, short for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, is a non-profit organization that brings people together to get the world up-to-date with great ideas, great innovations, and deeds done by ordinary people. And when we say ordinary, we also mean to say kids.

5 kids laughing and playing together

10 best ted talks for kids

How and When did TED start?

TED is an organization that is devoted to spreading great ideas by motivational speeches. It tackles about everything relevant to the world including social issues, science, business, and even creative thinking. These talks are powerful and deliver great motivation to its worldwide audience. TED originally started as a conference in 1984. The first TED conference included the demo of the compact disc, the e-book, 3D graphics from Lucasfilm, and a coastline mapping using the theory of fractal geometry. It was started by Richard Saul Wurman and Benoit Mandelbrot.

Due to lack of funds, the next TED conference was held in 1990. And from then on, it became an annual event. It featured a broad sharing of knowledge by scientists, philanthropists, intellects, and great people who have a wide knowledge to share. However, the TED talk community was revolutionized when it started airing podcasts online. It became so popular that TED talks became an online community. It broadened its scope to cover even social issues and thus including amazing talented kids on its speeches.

How does TED Talk Work?

TED talk uploads streams of videos online for public viewing all for free. Each talk is done in less than 18 minutes. What's great about TED is that it hosts conferences and conventions to build up a fund to make more motivational videos to share online. Some of the money it makes is used as a TED prize for ideas or innovations that give great global impact and relevance.

How is TED relevant for my kids?

TED talks may sound just like a group of people talking about what they did and what makes their goals become world renowned. But, in truth, once you start watching these videos, you'll realize that these people talking on stage are also ordinary people. Not all of them are scientists or people with high educational attainments. These people are made known because of their philosophies, their uniqueness and their ability to stand by their capabilities, dream and actually make it happen.

These talks, we believe, especially if we let our kids watch TED kids talks, will help broaden their minds and even encourage them to become confident children in their own unique ways. These talks also give your children a stronger desire to be creative and to follow their dreams and their abilities to make the world a better place, even if it's just in the neighborhood. It is truly inspirational and definitely a must watch for kids.

What are the best TED talks for kids by kids?

We've watched and seen how great kids are in making a difference not just in their own communities but throughout the entire world. It's awesome to see such gifted children who became great in their own small footsteps. You'll also realize as a parent that these kids are there because of their parents' support who believed in their parenting principles that lead to their kids being unique in their own globally acclaimed ways. Here are 10 awesome kids who did amazing things even before they hit 20.

1. Adora Svitak

We've often used the word 'childish' or 'you're acting like such a child' so many times on each other that we don't actually realize the reality behind the word. Adora Svitak was 12 when she made this speech at TED talks and was greatly intriguing to hear her thoughts on discrimination between ages. And true enough, we limit our expectations upon our kids, therefore, setting their goals on a low note and actually preventing our kids from soaring high and reaching for the stars.

Kids are born with pure raw ideas that bring about crazy yet actually great ideas for a perfect world. And because of our insights upon ourselves and our kids, we don't realize that we are setting such a low benchmarks for our children that they get stuck doing things you used to do when you were young. As a child, they must be supported, encouraged and totally need our guiding hand for them to realize that they are the future generation. They have the ability to make the world a better place and that we should be their stepping stone and not their goal. As parents, we want our kids to be the best and surpass us in many ways.​

This is really a great way to start this list. This breaks our own thoughts about our own kids. By the way, Adora Svitak is a literary prodigy. She published her first book by the time she is five years old. And what's so inspiring is that her early stages of learning started when her father read to them about Aristotle. Hmmmmm... Maybe we should add in some advanced stuff in our list of books for toddlers.

2. Thomas Suarez

At just the age of 12, he already developed his own app and sold it on the AppStore. At such a tender age, you'll wonder how incredibly intelligent he is at doing something that most college kids would have to study four years in college for software development. Hmmm, maybe digital time for our kids isn't such a bad idea, right? Well, on the contrary, frequent exposure to games and technology can become an addiction but with the right encouragement and support, instead of kids looking for games to play, you can actually encourage your child to make his own game.

Children are brilliant in their own ways and their bold creative ideas may just be what is needed to create the next top selling game online. Who knows, maybe letting your kids be exposed to some idealistic thoughts by other kids would kickstart a momentum towards greatness.

3. Kelvin Doe

Coming from one of the poorest nations in the world, Kelvin Doe is a self-taught inventor from Sierra Leone. With a knack for tinkering wires and broken machines, he developed his own mixer and started his own Radio Station. He completely changed his entire his community with very limited resources. He provided electricity to his small community when he created his own battery.

He was invited to deliver a speech at TEDx and he really did bring a lot of inspiration, especially from one who came from a place with such limited resources. He wanted to build a more open and more united community so he and his team launched their own FM station to connect to other people. Before he turned 15, he already has regular listeners who tune in and even take part in the FM station's spread and interaction. This speech is really an inspirational talk that will help your child understand that no matter how small your resources are, you can still do more.

4. Richard Turere

A small cow herder from Southern Kenya has flown thousands of miles away to talk in front of a TED audience. His simple wish is to protect his father's cattle and keep the lions away from attacking their small Maasai community. With curiosity, trial and error, and observation, he was able to solve a problem that generations before him had great trouble solving, which is keeping the lions away.

This is a very simple talk but you can see just how simple curiosity can change a community. So think twice restricting your child around the house. You can childproof the house but letting your child roam around and learn things about their surroundings will spark their curiosity in doing so many things. Restricting is not productive for them but letting them go loose is also another problem. Let your child be curious and explore but always be there to supervise and check in on your child. This talk is really a great learning curve by letting your child be creative no matter how wacky their thoughts are.

5. Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose, Naomi Shah

These are three different teen scientists who were invited to do a talk in front of a TED audience. The three of them won the Google Science Fair and all of their research centralized over health care.

Lauren Hodge's curiosity made her do a research on grilled chicken finding out that even indoor grilling can cause the grilled chicken to be carcinogenic. She found out that you can reduce the amount of carcinogens in grilled chicken by either using lemon, brown sugar or salt water.​

Shree Bose is the grand prize winner doing a research on chemotherapy. With the realization that people can get resistant to chemotherapy, means that there is little chance of second healing in the reoccurrence of cancer. However, her research shows that a person who is resistant to the effects of chemotherapy can still be cured using the same drug – which is a great breakthrough in cancer treatment.

Naomi Shah's research is about lung disorders. Due to the awareness of her family's asthma, she came up with the research to do a study on the quality of air directly affecting the way people's lungs would respond. Her research proposed a less medical method where doctors won't have the prescribed steroids and inhalers but instead tells you to change your air filter or remove the carpets on the floor. Her research shows that asthma and other lung disorders can be regulated with simple steps that can be done at home.

These talks may be a bit technical, especially for kids their age. But the truth of the matter is, they are also kids who just happen to be observant and want to make a big difference. These kids or teens all made breakthrough discoveries because of the people they care about.​

6. Tavi Gevinson

This is one children's talk that goes beyond medicine and environmental issues. Tavi Gavinson delivers a TED kids speech talking about social issues regarding feminism especially in the eyes of a teenage girl. The lack of strong characters that depict women properly leads to the lack of confidence in most teenage girls; and so she decided to make a website dedicated to women. This site serves as a website that links different teenage girls into becoming each other’s superhero and support system. Isn't that amazing?

There are times when we wonder how our sweet girl suddenly talks back, throws unusual tantrums and even becomes ill-mannered once they reach their teens. Mostly, we deal with it in strict discipline but we also miss out in actually finding out what's wrong with our sweet girl. Sometimes a good paternal bond and maternal support are all things our kids need and making them realize that they aren't as complicated and crazy as they think is what makes a girl to strong.

7. Jack Andraka

One of the devastating cancers in the world is pancreatic cancer. This is because pancreatic cancer is only detected once it is already in its late stages. Because of interest, he became focused on pursuing a research about carbon nanotubes that eventually lead to him being able to detect pancreatic cancer in its really early stage. This is a medical breakthrough once it will be applied because one of the most evasive forms of cancer can be detected. Thanks to child or teen's curiosity.

Being highly supportive of your child's interest is a great parenting principle to apply. Discerning if an interest is going way off hand or going towards a good direction is a way of encouraging your child to be himself and learn more about the world. Your child can become the next Einstein if you just really let his creative thinking be fueled by curiosity and your loving support.

8. Memory Banda

Belonging in a community where traditions must strictly be honored, Memory shares her personal story about her and her sister who was being forced to child marriage. Her sister is forced to marry at age 11, while she on the other hand rejected the traditions and pushed herself to keep away from being married at such a young age. She went against her traditions and even her elders to fight for children's rights where they pushed the law to prevent child marriage. They became successful; instead of letting young girls marry at age 15, it was pushed to 18.

She was rebellious to her traditions but she knew what she deserves and what her community needs. Even if it means defying age old traditions, she went on to push for the rights of women in Malawi. This is a very inspirational speech that tackles about human rights—women's rights and children's rights.

9. Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao

When the world is fighting against climate change, these girls deliver a TED speech about how they were able to accidentally find a way to decompose plastics. Since plastics are virtually impossible to separate and destroy, it becomes one of the most damaging causes of climate change. These two girls found strings of bacteria that can degrade the plastics. This was a solution that not only helps save the planet but every person who uses plastics in their daily lives.

See what a little observation can do? Your child's creative mind should not be limited to the backyard. Bringing your kids to fun and educational places can make a really big difference.

10. William Kamwamba

Due to famine, his family was brought down to their knees. William was forced to drop out of school and rely on farming to stay alive. His only means of studying was traveling to the nearest library to read and here he found out the basics of physics. Equipped with the knowledge he read from the books, he found himself making a wind turbine made out of scraps to power up electricity for his home. After this success, he made another makeshift invention to bring potable water to their community.

Being born in poverty and having practically nothing is not a limitation but becomes a drive for a better future. And teaching your child to explore is one thing that will jumpstart a career that you may never even realize. Your child is capable of doing great things as long as you give your support even in the absence of resources.

You will be surprised as to how much bold raw ideas our kids have and can do for the world. Their ideas can contribute to medical breakthroughs, challenge social issues, and bring about world changing environmental aid. Children's thoughts are pure and aren't limited by anything unless you set a limit for them. But if you notice, these kids were able to become who they are because a certain person in their lives and in their community believed in them. They got the support that they need and it launched them into an ever changing world. Kids are amazing and we know that you can see how great your kids are. But no matter how much you love them, you need to set a wider space for them to stretch out a wider set of wings.

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