Here are 7 ways to keep your child’s curiosity alive. Children who are curious about the world around them tend to be more successful in school and at home. They also tend to be happier and healthier adults. Here are some tips on how to raise a curious child.
Encourage them to explore the world
Creating curiosity in our children should be a fun experience. If you are able to explore the world with them, jump at the opportunity. Give them more experiences than things. Take them to museums and other places where they can observe nature. Plan trips together, whether to different countries or just a road trip in or out of state. Talk about the places you will be visiting, and teach them about the history and natural landscape. Create menus that explore the different foods eaten. Learn the language spoken and foster a love of exploration.
Ask lots of questions… and welcome theirs too!
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, question them. Ask them what they think and feel. Let them express themselves verbally or with written words. Let them draw, paint, create, sculpt, and build – however they want to give expression to what they are learning – just let it happen. And be patient when the barrage of questions begins. That alone creates curiosity, which is exactly the aim of nurturing independent thinkers.
Create an environment where they feel confident in questioning the world around them. Where they don’t feel ashamed for wanting more knowledge. Importantly, make sure that most of your questions are open-ended. What exactly is an open-ended question? An open-ended question allows the child to give an answer that is NOT a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. It allows them to think deeper, create conversation, and offer their thoughts and opinions in greater detail. All of this takes the learning and builds it into a physical, mental, and emotional experience.
Spend quality family time together
Whether sitting at the table together as a family or exploring your environment together. We are essentially creating an environment where our children feel that they are an important component. We are creating an environment where our conversation leads to problem-solving, debating, questioning, and exploration. We are encouraging a love of learning, and a curiosity for the world around us. Family time is the primary learning foundation that our children have; a safe space, where they can question and learn.
Encourage them to read books with topics that interest them
My daughter has a fascination with myths. So, we get her all the books on myths that we can. She spends hours on end reading and re-reading. What amazes me the most, and encouraged me to write this post, is how often she will come to me with such excitement, a sparkle in her eyes, and say: “Mommy, did you know?”… This for me, is an incredible moment, a moment where her learning creates conversation. Conversation, that is inspired by curiosity.
I’m a firm believer in encouraging our children to read books that are not just “twaddle” (as Charlotte Mason would say) … Books that inspire a deeper love for a certain subject. We need to allow our children to read books that look deeper into a subject. A subject that they are curiously inspired by. That alone keeps their curiosity alive. If they are unable to read, read it to them. And ask those open-ended questions.
- What do you think about this?
- What do you think will happen?
- How did this happen?
- What could you do to improve this?
- Would you design this the same way? How would you change this design?
- Why do you say that?
- How could things be different?
- Tell me about…
- What does this remind you of?
- Do you think that was/is real?
Those are just a few examples of open-ended questions that you could ask your children about the book they are reading—keeping that curiosity alive.
Help them learn new skills
This is where I feel that we need to challenge our children a little. Who knows them best? We do. As adults, we are often put outside our comfort zone, and these moments almost always lead to good life lessons. Take that curiosity and turn it into something tangible.
- A curiosity in art – let them create.
- A curiosity in design/technology – let them build.
- A curiosity in numbers/technology – let them code.
- A curiosity in music – let them experience singing, and playing an instrument.
- A curiosity in history – let them read.
- A curiosity in science – let them experiment.
- A curiosity in sports – let them play.
- A curiosity in humanity – let them be a volunteer.
- A curiosity in language – let them speak, write, and, read.
- A curiosity in geography – let them explore.
I could go on and on.
Let them be kids
Play, play, and more play. Explore, discover, create… Curious? YES! Boredom is good – when children are bored – in my opinion – they explore, discover, and create. They are compelled to entertain themselves. What drives this force. CURIOSITY!
We live in a world that is so structured, so – “on time/perfect/immediate”… We need to let our children play, unstructured. We need to let them process their individual thoughts in a safe space where parental guidance is welcomed.
We need to create a safe space where they feel free to explore and ask for guidance if need be.
Let them explore with their senses
As I mentioned above, turn their curiosity into something tangible. We can also encourage curiosity through our children’s senses. (Yup, open-ended questions happen here too) – see the correlation? Let them question you, let them question the norm!
This is where it gets exciting, everything I have mentioned above filters into our senses.
- Sight – What do you see, what would you like to see, and how can what you see be different.
- Smell – What are you experiencing, what would you change, what do you like/or not like, and why?
- Touch – what do you feel (emotional or physical), would you change that, and how?
- Taste – is this pleasing, why or why not? How could you make it better?
- Hearing – too loud, too soft, beautiful, does it resonate with you, or would you change what you are hearing.
The topic of using our senses to create and encourage curiosity is so expansive. It’s physical, emotional, and mental. Conscious and subconscious.
So there you have it. 7 Ways to Keep Your Child’s Curiosity Alive