Learning should not be something children only do for eight or nine months a year. Learning should be a constant, lifelong process. It should evoke feelings of curiosity, wonder, and awe, encouraging children to seek out new experiences and opportunities to learn.
Here are 7 ways to encourage children’s curiosity and wonder.
- Encourage children to study music. Studying music encourages children to think differently. They are better lateral thinkers and problem solvers. Children who study music look at the world creatively, with constant curiosity. Children who study music have better communication skills and language skills. They have an easier time memorizing information. Studying music also helps children to identify patterns and increases their emotional I.Q., helping them to become more successful adults.
- Surprise children. Positive surprises make children feel hopeful. When children are surprised, they become curious and seek out new experiences. Leave a note in your child’s lunch box. Put together a monthly scavenger hunt. Plan surprise activities. Make your child wonder what exciting event is going to happen next.
- Ask creative questions. Pick your children’s brains. Make them consider options and a variety of scenarios. But be creative to encourage their creativity. Remember to include the “why” in all of your questions, as this teaches children inference and analysis skills. Ask out of the ordinary questions, like “Do you have a favorite place on Earth and why is that your favorite place?” “If you owned an island, what would you name it? Why?” “If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? Why?” All of these questions will help children to consider their place in the world and encourage them to be more curious about the world in which they live.
- Tell open-ended stories. While we always encourage reading with your children, we also believe in the power of the imagination. Start telling your story and do not end it. Leave your child feeling curious, wondering what will happen next. Have your child come up with an ending. This process helps children foster their creativity and imagination. It also helps children to figure out how to create a logical sequence of events and timelines. Children can also be encouraged to find different endings for the same stories, helping them consider different scenarios and different solutions. This helps children develop problem-solving techniques.
- Cook together. Cooking involves following directions, using math, and creating something new. It helps to awaken children’s senses, helping them to listen more carefully, see the colors and the transformation of the ingredients into a final product, taste different flavors, and touch new textures. Cooking is a constant learning process with a visible, usable, measurable result, making children feel accomplished and capable.
- Go on walks outside. Going for a walk gives children time to explore, observe, and identify new things. Nature walks can easily become science lessons and walks in cities can become reading, spelling, math, and history lessons. Making every experience an opportunity to learn in a low stress situation will encourage children to feel curious and to encounter wonder. Children will seek out new information and to continuously learn.
- Change routines. While many children thrive with routines, small changes in daily habits can provoke a child’s curiosity and help them develop skills when things don’t go exactly as planned. Start with a subtle change, like changing the yogurt flavors that you keep in the house or changing your liquid soap to foaming soap. Discuss textures and tastes to determine what appeals most to them and discuss why.
Encouraging children to be curious and to wonder about the world around them will help them to become lifelong learners. Learning does not have to be a formal, instruction based activity. It should be fun.
This summer, have your child spend an hour a week with a GAMECHANGER tutor who can help foster your child’s curiosity and wonder, creating a lifelong love of learning.