Curiosity is a natural part of childhood. Exploring the world around them helps children to grow and develop as people and as learners. While some kiddos keep curiosity on overdrive, others shy away from just about all experimental experiences. If your littles are the latter, read on for a few easy ways to spark curiosity in your toddler or preschooler.
1. Encourage interests. It’s easy to inspire when your kiddo already has an interest. Instead of pushing your child into exploring something they’d rather not spent time on, try an exploration-based activity that ties to anything they adore.
2. Start with a story. Reading is a gateway to worlds far away, other times, and other places that your child needs to explore. Ignite your tot’s curiosity with a playful story. What seems like a simple children’s book could lead to investigating a new idea or an afternoon of pretend play discovery.
3. Use open-ended questions. Think about the approach you take when introducing something new to your child. Forget about those same “yes/no” questions and opt for the open-ended versions. These question require your child to think critically about the subject at hand.
4. Go outside. What better way to encourage curiosity than the great outdoors? Take a nature walk at the local park, visit an animal preserve, or just hang in the back yard. Bring a magnifying glass, observation journal/drawing pad, and a bag to collect “specimens” with you too.
5. Invite questions. You aren’t the only one who should ask the questions. Kid-led questions help your child to express their curiosity and understand the world around them.
6. Don’t answer immediately. The million why, what, how, and where questions your tot asks come with answers. But that doesn’t mean you should dish the dirt ASAP. Instead, let your kiddo stop and think first. The more they think about their question, the more curious they’ll get.
7. Talk to your tot. Keep the conversation going as you go through your day. This means asking questions, making statements, and pointing out anything that you’re curious about. Whether you’re at the grocery store, Target, or your grandmother’s house, talk, talk, and talk some more.
8. 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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