The world of a young child is full of new foods to taste, new people to meet, new games to play, words to understand, places to visit, and concepts to master. The infant and toddler will touch, taste, smell, climb over, poke at, take apart, watch, listen, and learn more than at any other time in life. It is, simply, how we learn. Stimulating your child’s curiosity is a wonderful gift because it enables them to continually learn, grow and question the world they live in. Curiosity also helps children develop a healthy imagination and a sense of creativity, as well as acts as a stepping stone towards a successful future.
Here’s how you can encourage curiosity in your child and make them more inclined to learning and being creative:
Follow your child’s lead.
Encourage natural interests. Children learn so much more through activities that capture their attention and imaginations. If he likes music, play it for him often, make and play instruments together, dance together. If bugs are his thing, give him a shovel and a net. Find books on bugs and read to him.
Be curious yourself
Your children learn best from observing what you do, so do take this chance to role model and pique their curiosity. Make it a point to raise questions that serve as a learning point for them as you go about the day’s activities. For example, while cooking dinner, you could ask “This sauce makes the stir-fry taste so yummy. I wonder what’s in it?” or “Why does the rainbow appear after that heavy downpour?”. You can brainstorm with your children on the possible answers and then do some research together to find the right answers.
Read, read, read
Read all kinds of different books about all kinds of different things. Teach your child about new animals, read about kids in other countries, and provide touch-and-feel books so he can experience different textures. Curiosity is all about exploring and discovering, and reading is a great way to encourage those things.
Visit new places
Visiting new places (e.g. a foreign country or a different neighbourhood/state) opens up your child to a world of new experiences and stimulates their curiosity. Through this, she will be able to experience new cultures and being in a different environment than the one she is used to, as well as witness how other people live. This certainly beats relying on documentaries on TV or turning to books or online videos for answers to her questions.
The old curiosity shop
Make sure your child has the right resources and tools to pursue his interests. Otherwise, his curiosity will be snuffed out. Only when he is provided with the necessary resources to develop his interests will he continue to pursue them. It may mean enrolling him in a library or a robotics club, getting him gardening tools and equipment or setting up a mini laboratory at home. Whatever it is, invest time and energy in providing it for him.
Provide Opportunities for the Curious Learner
This is a big one. Enhance that curiosity by providing opportunities. Give your toddler a pot and spoon. Let them explore those objects and see what they discover. Give your middle schooler a microscope and a bunch of slides. Go hiking, seek new adventures, explore new museums. As a parent, you have the best seat in the house for expanding their curiosity. Pay attention to their likes and their excitements. Build on them by providing activities around that topic. If they notice the trash truck outside and play trash collectors all day, then make the next day’s activities focus on trash collectors while they are still interested in it.
Do something new
Yes, you should build on your child’s existing interests. But also pick a new activity that your kiddo might enjoy, helping to spark curiosity in anything from a never-before-tried art project to an outdoor adventure. If you’re not sure where to start, sign up for a mommy-child class. This lets you use the teacher/expert’s experience as a way to help your child explore.
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