These children develop extraordinary abilities at an early age, far beyond their years. These can be in music, art, mathematics, or a scientific field.
Once looked at with suspicion, child prodigies are now held in highest esteem. In a culture that increasingly demands kids to be perfect and stand out, parents often feel anxious to help their children display outstanding life-achievements, even at a young age.
The desire to push these children can be witnessed by the explosion of products that encourage high achievement: Baby Einstein videos, womb songs, and the likes.
Many of these young children have accomplished more before the age of 12 than an average adult. Our list includes those who have excelled in painting, music, computer technology, mathematics, and languages. Many of them have impressively high IQs, some beyond Einstein’s.
The top 15 smartest preteen children have been selected entirely on the basis of their outstanding talents and achievements—these being gauged by how far they excel others in their field, including adults.
The 15 Smartest Preteens in the World are listed in alphabetical order.
(Go here for our COOL INFOGRAPHIC on the 15 Smartest Preteens.)
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Born in 2003, American Tanishq Abraham is best known for his and his sister’s induction into the high IQ society, MENSA, when they were both only four years old.
His prodigious talent was seen from an early age. Around four months, he could flip through a book and answer questions based on the reading.
When he was six years old, Tanishq started taking online high school and college level courses in different subjects such as chemistry and paleontology. When he was seven, he enrolled in college-level geology and astronomy classes and was the top student in each. Two years later, Tanishq had earned a third of the courses needed to graduate with an associate’s degree, and he still managed to maintain a 4.0 grade point average.
Apart from academics, Tanishq also excels in music. He has been formally trained in piano since he was three. In addition, he is also a chorister in the San Francisco Bay Chorus.
In his spare time, Tanishq loves to swim and play chess.
This young Australian child prodigy was born in January of 2007.
Born to two talented artists, Aelita began painting at nine months, even before she could walk.
She has been called a “pee-wee Picasso” for her incredible talent with surrealist and abstract paintings. When she was only 22 months old, Aelita’s work was shown in the Brunswick Street Gallery.
Shortly after, she sold her most expensive painting in Hong Kong for $24,000.
In June of 2011, she had her first solo art exhibition in New York City, and after the closing of the exhibit, she had sold a total of nine paintings worth more than $30,000.
Aelita primarily uses acrylic paints, splattering and swirling them into a whorl of abstract art with hints of glitter and other small objects. Some of her most valuable paintings have magnifying glasses, white masks, or even microscopes added to them.
At only seven years of age, Yasha, a British math prodigy of Iranian descent, claimed the title as the youngest person in the world ever to pass Britain’s A-level mathematics exam with an A grade. The boy genius whizzed through his tests, calling them “easy-peasy.”
He has already passed A-level statistics and A-level mathematics. These tests are prerequisites taken before someone can enter college, typically taken by 17–18 year olds. Yasha, now 10, plans on enrolling full time at a university in the near future.
Because of his phenomenal ability, one of his teachers hailed him as a boy with a brain like a calculator. However, Yasha isn’t gifted solely with amazing mathematical talent; the boy also can speak four languages fluently: English, French, Arabic, and Farsi.
Emily was born in 2001 in Rockford, Illinois. Even from her crib, she was practically a musical prodigy. Her mother says, “As a baby, she would sing back lullabies to me in perfect pitch. By 18 months, she was experimenting constantly at the piano. At just past two years, my mother thought it was my son playing. She was composing tangible pieces since she was three. By the time she was four, she was having pieces published and distributed by Hal Leonard”.
When she was five, Emily performed at the Ravinia Music Festival in Chicago; at age six, she was invited to perform at the White House; by age seven, Emily was touring Italy and China giving piano concerts; and by age nine, she was playing classical compositions and her own works in Carnegie Hall.
Emily has won much international fame and has been aired on many television shows such as the Ellen Degeneres Show, ABC Nightline, Katie Couric, and many international television programs.
Born in December of 2000 in Florida, Ethan Bortnick is an outstanding child pianist. On top of that, Ethan is also a singer, composer, songwriter, actor, musician—and one of the youngest philanthropists in the world.
When he was very young, he had only a small 10-key keyboard. He would bang out various tunes and songs that he heard, and eventually his parents saw his talent and gave him lessons.
He has composed many of his own songs and can listen to any song, and play it. Because of his remarkable talent, he has made appearances with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show and has even won a Guinness World Record for youngest person to head a solo tour.
He has toured the world with star performers like Marvin Hamlisch and has given concerts to sold-out crowds in places like São Paulo, Brazil, and Montreal, Canada.
Abby was born in the American Midwest, but from a young age she showed an uncanny ability to memorize political themes and names.
During the presidential election of 2000 between Al Gore and George Bush, her father made a game out of determining how many of Bush’s Cabinet she could memorize. Abby astounded her parents with the amount of information she retained. By age five, she could recite the governors of every state, countless world leaders, every past president and numerous facts about them, all of the first ladies, and all of the vice presidents in history.
Moreover, she memorized many well-known speeches, including Martin Luther’s “I Have a Dream,” the Gettysburg Address, the presidential oath of office, and many other quotes by famous presidents.
Abby has been featured on shows like the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Late Night Show, and Good Morning America. She has even had a personal tour of the White House courtesy of Laura Bush.
At age five, Abby could recite numerous facts about American and world countries, leaders, and events, as well as the whole of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Brianna Kahane discovered her musical affinity for the violin at the age of three when her parents gave her an instrument. Within a year, she was flawlessly playing masterful pieces. Oprah Winfrey hailed her as a “violin prodigy” and one of the most talented and gifted children.
Brianna is a second-year student at Juilliard School in New York. She is currently the youngest recipient of an instrument from the Stradivari Society in Chicago.
What makes Brianna such an outstanding violinist? She possesses a photographic memory, extreme finger dexterity beyond her age, and perfect pitch. She performs many different types of pieces, ranging from classical to popular.
In addition to being a talented musician, Brianna is also a huge philanthropist, donating more than $19 million to charities from receipts collected from her performances.
Thai child prodigy Dhanat Plewtianyingthawee (also known as “Dhanat Wee,” for short) is only 11 years old and is a multi-talented, internationally recognized star.
When he was three years old, his parents gave him some art supplies. He surprised them with the outcome of his art, for it was far better than expected. Today, he has created over 2000 pieces of abstract art for which he has received international attention, many of them being sold for high prices. Dhanat had his first solo art exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2006.
Dhanat is also musically gifted. Starting violin lessons when he was three and one half years old, he now plays all over the world.
In addition to these talents, Dhanat is a great orator and has spoken at many prominent conventions such as the Thailand Toastmaster Club.
He excels academically, far above children his age, and now is home-schooled so his learning can be tailored to his intellectual desires.
Shrinidhi is a 12-year-old from Britain with a passion for language. She has a keen love for words and very frequently you can find her reading books or playing Scrabble. In fact, Shrinidhi is the World Youth Scrabble Champion.
When she is not winning Scrabble championships, Shrinidhi also enjoys writing in her spare time. Currently, she is in the midst of writing her fourth novel.
Before even reading a book, Shrinidhi will smell the book, claiming it to be a tradition. She hopes one day to be able to determine which words make it into the dictionary.
In 2013, Shrinidhi won a competition sponsored by Great Britain’s Channel 4, against 21 other highly talented children ranging in age from seven to 11, for the title of “Child Genius.”
Cleopatra was born in Moldova in 2002. This young prodigy is famous for being the youngest singer ever to achieve commercial success.
Back in 2006, she released her album La vârsta de trei ani (At the age of three), becoming the youngest highest-paid recording artist, the youngest perceive to receive an MTV award, and the youngest artist achieve a Number One hit in a country. That album, including her biggest hit “Ghita,” sold over 130,000 copies.
Cleopatra had her start when she was three years old. Her father was recording a song in a studio, when she grabbed a microphone and started singing along with him. She stunned everyone with her talent, and soon she began recording albums.
Cleopatra is the Guinness World Record–holder for the youngest person to ever appear on the world stage.
Twelve-year-old Thomas Suarez is from the South Bay area of Los Angeles. He is a self-taught app developer for iOS based platforms such as the iPhone.
This IT genius taught himself how to use Java, Python, and C—just for fun.
Claiming that there is no way for children today to learn how to develop apps, like there is for piano, violin, and soccer lessons, Thomas recently started an app club at school that helps kids understand the basics of app development.
Thomas believes in technological role reversal, in which it is the duty of the younger generation to teach the older generation about technology.
In addition, he is working on building up his own company, CarrotCorp, which currently features four apps.
At two years and four months of age, Britain’s Elise Tan-Roberts was the youngest person ever inducted into MENSA, a group of intellectually superior persons.
Born in December of 2006, to two average parents, Elise showed great intellect from an early age. She showed increased early-motor skills as a toddler, and friends of the family recommended that she have her intelligence assessed. After a 45-minute test, her scores came back: as a two-year-old, Elise had an IQ of 156—only four points lower than Einstein’s!
In her spare time, Elise enjoys learning the world’s capitals, and knows almost all of them. Did we also mention that she can count in Spanish? While learning everyday speech, Elise picked up on Spanish and now can count fluently in that language.
Tsung is an up-and-coming piano prodigy from Hong Kong, China. Although, he can barely reach the pedals of the piano, his fingers flawlessly fly up and down the keys. The young star stunned the world with his beautiful renditions of classical piano works via YouTube videos.
Tsung is five years old and can be seen in his pajamas bouncing up and down on the piano bench. His videos were an instant hit on YouTube with the views soaring into the millions within a couple of days.
Furthermore, to discredit any dissenters, Tsung Tsung appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show and played the rapid-paced “Flight of the Bumblebee” in a white tuxedo.
Tsung says he wants to be just like Mozart—another incredible child prodigy of music—when he grows up.
Growing up in Kenya, Richard Turere was just an average shepherd looking after his father’s herd of cattle. Yet, living in Kenya brought challenges such as wilds animals, especially lions.
Ever since Richard was a child, his mother recalled, he has always liked tinkering with gadgets and electronics. Therefore, it came as no surprise when Richard developed a way to keep lions away from the cows.
Using spare parts from flashlights and solar panels found in junkyards, Richard invented a series of moving, flashing lights that distract lions. Currently, these are being used all over Kenya.
In his spare time, Richard loves to take electronics apart and put them back together, including his mother’s new radio.
Kieron is a British painting prodigy who excels in painting rural landscapes and scenery.
At the age of five, Kieron unleashed his artistic talent. While on vacation in Cornwall, Kieron asked his parents for a pencil and paper to draw what he saw. The result looked like any other five-year-old’s drawing, but what separated him was his time and level of concentration he put into it.
Quickly, the family began to realize his talent, and enrolled him in art classes. Many teachers soon began praising him as a “Mini Monet.” Soon after, Kieron’s paintings were shown in his first exhibition in 2009. They were such a big hit that they sold in minutes, totaling $22,000.
His second exhibition brought in $27,000, and one in 2011 raked in more than $150,000.