Curiosity is how we learn about the world, and every one of our interests and passions is ultimately a product of our natural curiosity. As a parent, you hope to guide your child through the world and teach them how it works to prepare them to one day enter it on their own. Encouraging your child’s curiosity when they’re young can help promote an inquisitive and open mind as they grow up.
Check out these eight great ways to encourage curiosity in your child.
1. Ask Them Open-Ended Questions
An open-ended question requires more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer. They ask us to describe, explain, or analyze something in detail to give the individual asking the question more information about a topic. Open-ended questions can enhance your child’s curiosity by training them to look into deeper detail about various topics.
We tend to ask closed-ended questions because they are more natural for us. They narrow down answer possibilities to provide a quick answer to a question. In school, closed-ended questions often take the form of multiple-choice answers or true and false statements. While these questions help determine students’ understanding of the material, open-ended questions help students demonstrate their ability to conceptualize and apply the information they learn, which is essential for critical thinking.
Examples of open-ended questions you can ask your child to nurture their curiosity include:
- What was the best part of your day?
- How do you feel today?
- What do you like or dislike about this ingredient or meal?
- Why do you think this happened?
- What do you think will happen next?
- Why did you decide to do that?
Making open-ended questions a part of your daily routine, such as asking them in the morning at breakfast and in the evening at dinner, can encourage your child to think more deeply about the world and their experiences, helping nourish curiosity.
2. Show Them the World
Another important aspect of encouraging curiosity in your child includes exposing them to new environments and situations. Whether these adventures include trips across the country, to other parts of the world, or to new spaces right within your city or neighborhood, make the most of your child’s experience by encouraging them to explore things they haven’t seen before and asking open-ended questions.
Showing your child the world includes exposing them to different cultures and traditions. Going to ethnic restaurants, cooking food from various cultures at home, or attending a cultural festival are all great ways to experience new cultures — without the pressure of traveling across the world. Similarly, school field trips provide excellent learning opportunities to expand a child’s worldview.
3. Take a Break From Routine
Routines are important for children because they encourage consistency. They create balance and order, but they can also become monotonous and hinder a child’s curiosity. Some simple things you can do to give them a break from their routine include:
- Fixing a special lunch rather than the normal sandwich.
- Planning a walk in the park after school.
- Joining a new club.
- Gathering a motivational quote of the day.
- Taking periodic stretching breaks.
- Dancing to their favorite song before starting the school day.
Taking a break from routine can have various benefits, including stimulating your child’s mind and imagination, leading to a more curious nature.
4. Lead by Example
Kids often learn by modeling the behavior of those they spend a lot of time around. Your child will pick up on things you do every day, so be aware of what positive traits you can impart to them through leading by example. Even if reading books isn’t your favorite hobby, avoid speaking negatively about reading so your child will maintain a positive association with it.
Ask open-ended questions and answer them yourself to model the kind of critical thinking and curiosity you want to instill in your child. For example, you might wonder aloud about why geese fly south for the winter. Then, answer yourself by posing possible explanations, such as to join their families or for the warmer weather.
5. Answer Questions With Enthusiasm
Children ask a lot of questions. Most notably, the word “why” is an early fixture in their vocabularies, and asking questions is how they show their curiosity. Your child has a natural curiosity for how things work and why things are the way they are. Offer comprehensive explanations whenever possible, and if you don’t know an answer, you can have fun with your child looking up the right information.
Do your best to answer your child’s questions with compassion and patience as acting frustrated may discourage their curiosity. Furthermore, this trait will help them throughout school and their career, as asking questions is an essential element in their future success.
6. Encourage New Interests
Many children will quickly begin to have favorite toys, activities, games, and shows that point to their wider interests and talents. Pay attention to your child’s interests and encourage them to pursue these hobbies and ideas further. You can also introduce them to new things based on their initial interest. For example, if your child enjoys playing make-believe as a prince or princess, show them books about princes and princesses to encourage a new interest in reading.
Additionally, you might want to expose your children to entirely new hobbies, like gardening, cooking, dancing, and acting. Giving them access to a wide range of hobbies and interests can help encourage their curiosity and promote a healthy habit of trying new things.
7. Choose Play Materials Wisely
While video games and online media are made to engage children’s interests, they also promote a type of structured play that can negatively impact children’s natural curiosity and imagination. Choose toys and materials that encourage unstructured play — activities that promote the use of creativity, imagination, and critical thinking without the intervention of adults.
Materials that can promote unstructured play and curiosity include:
- Building blocks
- Art supplies
- Paper towel rolls
8. Let Kids Be Kids
Exploring and playing are some of the best things to trigger curiosity in children. Given you are in a safe environment, letting down your guard and allowing your child to be adventurous can have enormous benefits. Unstructured play lets kids make their own rules — even if it means asserting fish can fly and the sky is yellow. Providing space for your child to daydream and reimagine their own world will nurture their curiosity.
You can support your child’s imagination by allowing and encouraging these natural, childlike tendencies. Even more, joining them in unstructured play where they take the lead can have enormous benefits for you, such as increasing your child’s trust and bond with you and lowering your own inhibitions.
Discover How CCA Encourages Curiosity
While structure and routine are essential elements of any school environment, Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) can do more to encourage children’s natural curiosity as a public cyber charter school. We are proud to offer personalized learning for every student, with lessons tailored to children’s unique interests and talents. Students master skills at their own pace, ensuring an encouraging learning environment that celebrates success and promotes a passion for learning — not just attaining good grades.
CCA also has many opportunities to expand students’ worldview through field trips, clubs and activities, volunteer opportunities, and career readiness training. When children have the tools they need to succeed — in an environment personalized to ensure their success — they can look at the world in new ways and expand their curiosity.
Learn more about how CCA encourages curiosity in the academic setting by requesting more information today!