The simplest way to notice a child's gifts emerge is to observe their free play. Play allows for a child to be imaginative, to master skills without restrictions and to develop a sense of selfhood. Simply observe any elementary school playground during recess and you can see children's gifts shine through. There are the natural leaders and administrators forming rules and regulations to a game. You will see the compassionate ones inviting the outsider in to play. You will notice the creative and imaginative ones drawing made-up creatures on the blacktop.
This type of play generally happens without directives from adults. I am confident parents have heard their kids use the phrase, "I'm bored" over any extended school break or even right after they are done with their homework on more than one occasion.
Parents will always respond with "Well, go find something to do." Or the punny parent will say, "Hi, Bored. I'm your parent."
With both responses, a child will roll their eyes, go sit in their boredom for a moment until imaginative play begins.
This can be said of teenagers too. A parent may guide their child to go shoot hoops or find something else to do. In time, you may hear the teenager self-talk as the game announcer declaring the last 5 seconds of the half.
The countdown begins... "5, 4, 3, 2, 1... He makes the 3 and the crowd goes wild!"
Play is where gifts are grown and matured. A child's skills can be sharpened by their peers, who note a different way to accomplish a task, which they try and figure out together. A child's skills can be fine-tuned by an older observer offering simple direction as play is at hand. All of this is done within the act of play.
The theory behind the gifts can be strengthened and nurtured in the classroom. The development of gifts are done within action outside of an instructional setting.
But, what about spiritual gifts? If spiritual gifts are meant to be used by believers, what is the best way to develop those gifts?