by Kristy Roser Nuttall
“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 would be curiosity.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Curiosity is a superpower. When you are curious, you have a strong desire to learn or know something. Curious kids have a way of seeing the world as a place of wonder with layers of information and stories waiting to be discovered and understood. Curiosity also leads to higher academic performance and life satisfaction. People who ask “What if . . . ” are the ones who change the world. I think all of us would love for our children to see the world more like Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Amelia Earhart, or Nellie Bly. Here are some practical tips to boost your kid’s natural sense of curiosity and keep a healthy sense of wonder about the amazing things to be discovered in this world.
ACTIVELY ENCOURAGE your kids to ASK QUESTIONS. Lots of them. Let them ask you, but you should also ask them. When they get home from school, instead of asking: What did you learn today? Try asking: What good questions did you ask today? Then make it a mealtime ritual to come up with interesting questions about the world to explore. Have a “Question of the Day” posted on your fridge. Bonus if you can discover the answers together.
READ, READ, READ! People who read more are more curious. Why? Because when you read you are exposed to new ideas, perspectives and ways of seeing the world that open your mind to new possibilities and make you wonder. . .why? Have a “Read Till You Drop Night” on a Friday or Saturday night where the kids are allowed to stay up as long as they want—as long as they’re reading. This is great for kids who are always asking for one more story. Make sure to grab a book and read together as well as on your own. Let toddlers and preschoolers look at picture books.
Find the UNUSUAL way to live in the EVERYDAY. What if you came up with secret code words for everyday phrases? What would it be like to have lunch served under the table instead of on top of the table? What if your kid could be a scientist for the day? Let your child make a “Science Soup” with random items from the kitchen like salt, lemon juice, cinnamon, cumin, sugar, and then of course baking soda and vinegar for a bubbling chemical reaction. Have fun pushing the limits of your “What ifs. . .” and encourage a curious mind.
REFRAME boring situations: Stuck waiting at the doctor’s office? Instead of pulling out the electronic device, try imagining that you are waiting to visit with King Arthur and his knights of the round table. What questions would you ask a king? Start telling an add-on story—start with a simple “Once upon a time there was a. . .” and keep trading back and forth to see where the story goes.
DIVE DEEPER into a potential PASSION. Notice what activities and ideas interest kids, and give them tools to further explore those areas. How will you know if your child might be the next Picasso unless he takes that art class? Is your child fascinated by robots? Let her try out an engineering summer camp. Curious exploration into areas of interest leads to self-discovery.
Do you have a tip for developing curiosity? What is your kid’s question of the day? Please share in the comments section!
Other resources for boosting curiosity–check out www.iquriouskids.com
Discovering the answers to questions:
Ready to dive into a potential passion? Parents in the Houston area can find hundreds of classes and summer camps for kids:
Want to know how to increase kids attention span? Find curiosity boosting activities like:
Educational games and Learning games for kids:
Finding passion—how do you help your kids discover what their passion is?