Curiosity may have killed the cat, but curious kids do better academically and are more connected to their community and to their world. Use these tips to foster curiosity in your little ones for a lifetime of learning and fun.
- Give kids space to explore. When I was young, my parents let me take apart an old broken radio just to see what was inside. If I had done that to my Dad’s beloved short wave radio, well I hate to think about what would have happened. Set up a space and provide objects that won’t get curious hands in trouble. If your child wants to see what happens when he sprays the whip cream can, have him spray it into a large bowl or go outside. If your child wants to see what it is like to make a splatter paint picture, make sure she wears clothes that can get messy in an area that can be easily cleaned. Let them be curious, but within boundaries.
- Help kids make their own discoveries. If you tell kids how to use a toy before they have a chance to explore it, they’ll probably only think of using that toy one way. Kids tend to come up with creative ways to use something when left to their own devices. Incorporating open-ended toys like Legos or blocks will foster more imaginative play.
- Allow enough time to explore. Exploration can lead in unexpected directions and therefore a time limit shouldn’t be placed on these types of activities. If it is time to move on from the activity, let kids go back to what they were working on later. If they are in the middle of an experiment try to leave the tools and supplies as is in an undisturbed area.
- Model curiosity. Ask questions you might have aloud and model your thinking in front of the kids. When they see how to ask questions and look for answers in books, on the Internet, or asking experts, they will be inspired to ask questions, too!