Young children are naturally curious. To a child, the world is full of infinite possibilities – pigs can talk, monsters can fit under their beds, and wolves are able to knock down a house with a simple huff and puff. Children's ideas are without limits, judgments, and bias.
Curiosity encourages exploration, questions, experimentation, and a sense of wonder. It solves problems, clarifies values, and strengthens relationships. The more we know, the more tools we have to understand our world and communicate with others.
So, what can you do to boost children's curiosity? Here are some fun and easy tips from Pam Schiller, author of Seven Skills for School Success:
- Use "I wonder" statements. Say things like, "I wonder what would happen if we put these two things together" or "I wonder why blocks don't bounce." Encourage your child to answer your "I wonder" statements. If he can't come up with a probable answer, then help him by asking questions that might lead him to an answer.
- Ask "what if" questions. What if the only colors we had were blue and green? What color would milk be? Would it taste different? What if elephants could fly? What if children were in charge of adults? Your child's answers to these questions are sure to endlessly amuse you!
- Be interested in what children find interesting. Talk with your child about what he is curious about and interested in. This will reinforce his interests. Sharing his interests also shows that you value his thinking.
- Read books about curiosity and discuss the role curiosity plays in the story. Check out these books about curiosity:
- Allow children to explore and "fall in love" with their environment. Provide materials, such as gears, pulleys, feathers, rocks, and other items that are new to your child.
For more tips to encourage children's natural curiosity and develop their social and emotional intelligence, check out Seven Skills for School Success (available in both paperback and e-book formats).