Tips to Encourage Curiosity in Children
“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity".– Eleanor Roosevelt
It is so important to inspire and nurture an inquisitive mind in all our children. Children are naturally inquisitive and curious of their surroundings and it is crucial that we, as adults, have some ideas how to build on and encourage curious thinking as they develop.
Here are some tips to nurture your child’s curiosity:
Encourage children through their interests. Let their interest be a springboard for curiosity. If your child likes Dinosaurs, why not bury some fake bones in your garden and be Paleontologists for the day? You know your child best and with a bit of careful thought you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
Ask open ended questions, to encourage discussion and conversation and to fan the flames of a child’s curiosity. Ask questions like: why, what, who, when and where at every opportunity.
Answer questions with enthusiasm. Respond to your child’s questions thoughtfully. If you don’t know the answer, research and seek out the answers together from the internet, books or experts. Help them feel comfortable with feelings of not knowing something by explaining that even adults need to look things up from time to time. This proves we all still learn no matter what your age.
Encourage meaningful play by the things you choose to give them. Loose parts play and using natural resources such as pine cones and leaves as well as open-ended resources such as junk modeling, Play-Doh and Lego ensure that they offer endless possibilities of curiosity and play. Your child can create whatever they desire form these open-ended play resources.
Allow your child to collect things. Encourage children to collect bit and bobs, items that intrigue and fascinate them beautiful seashells or smooth unusual pebbles or natural resources. Encouraging these collections enables children to see how valuable their treasures are and this in turn sparks curiosity and the desire to search further.
Provide them with tools for exploring. Give them a magnifying glass, buckets, measuring tape, sand, water and measuring cups for their investigations. Allow them the time and space to tinker, potter, explore and investigate. All this nurtures a curious mind.
Keep it simple with toys. Sadly in our children’s modern day world, plastic electronic toys are becoming so intelligent that they play more than the child. Bright flashing lights, moving parts, buttons and noises barrage children instead of allowing them to use their own imaginations.
I hope some of these ideas will help you to get creative and curious with your child. Be brave, different and a little bit ‘out of the box’ and you will help develop and nurture your child’s natural curiosity!
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