early learning and development

Before I Go to Kindergarten #19: Kids Need Curiosity

Is Your Child Curious and Eager to Learn?

As parents, if you were given a choice, would you choose being curious or being smart for kids? For success at school and life, kids need curiosity.

before kindergarten kids need curiosity

Because kids always seem to be asking questions and wanting to know how something works, we overlook the critical importance of curiosity. But it’s a powerful and vital learning strategy. We say someone is smart when they already know something but being curious means exploring the unknown. Dr. Bruce Perry calls it “The Fuel of Development.” (Scholastic, Curiosity: The Fuel of Development) It drives us to discover and want to know. It means ask questions.

nature treasure hunt

We all know kids ask questions. By the time kids are just 4 years old, they have already asked about 40,000 probing questions. No wonder, parents, caregivers, and teachers sometimes think questions are driving them crazy. This sounds even crazier, but we need to nurture children’s questions and curiosity.

Some of the ways we can encourage curiosity are practical. Kids need to know it’s okay to make a mess. They also need some basic items and training for how to clean them up. A supply of sponges and rags, a small hand broom, and a dustpan that kids can reach are musts. Take some time and show your child how to sweep bits into the dustpan. Getting a sponge or rag wet is part of washing up, but little hands need to practice squeezing out lots of water so they don’t make the mess worse. Not all kids will worry about making a mess, but just in case it happens, it’s good to be able to clean it up instead of getting in trouble.

kids need curiosity

Another way to boost curiosity, is to recognize effort. When babies are first learning to walk, we smile, make eye contact, talk, use positive words, and invite them to try. Somehow, though, we forget this as kids get even a little older and only notice achievement. We need to be positive about the trying. A volcano science experiment may not work the first time but we can still say, “Wow, that volcano didn’t fizz but I can see you have lots of questions. You are figuring out what doesn’t work too.”

kids need curiosity

Questions invite more questions, so we can also ask some. Asking kids, “Why do you think that happened?” invites them to connect what they are discovering.

Kids need curiosity to learn. A diet of questions, time to play, encouragement to explore, and recognition of efforts will fuel our children’s curiosity. What are your thoughts, does limiting curiosity limit the future?

New Year’s Resolutions vs Bucket List Wishes for Young Kids

When parents and caregivers think of young children and resolutions, we include things that are important, like play, exercise, nature, and healthy foods. There is so much learning and development that has to happen in the early years and what children see, hear, and do now will impact them for a lifetime.

new year's resolutions for kidsBut the word resolution does not have a positive reputation. It implies something that we have to do, whether we like it or not, interfering with being spontaneous. It will be ‘good’ for us and probably hard too. Who wants a list of resolutions? No wonder resolutions are impossible to keep, even if they come with benefits.

bucket list for young kidsOn the other hand, a bucket list has a very different image, with places we want to visit, adventures we’d like to have, dreams, and wishes. There will be excitement, exploring, and amazing discoveries. Quite a difference between the two and the choice seems pretty obvious. I know which one I’d rather make and you would probably prefer the same one too. For kids, we know we want their days to have numerous play activities. Is there a place for resolutions?

early learning and developmentMany resolutions can certainly be part of play, such as learning to be kind, connecting with nature, and getting lots of exercise. Resolutions can also be goals, such as saving money for an adventure on the wish list. Other resolutions are part of development, like daily chores and having a routine. Children also need to have opportunities to make healthy food choices and get optimum sleep.

When it comes to resolutions and bucket lists, kids and grownups need both. They are like two ends of a teeter-totter, and together they give some balance. A teeter-totter that doesn’t move is not very much fun. It needs to go up and down. There’s a whole new year ahead and who knows what it will bring. What are some resolutions for your kids and family? What are some of the wishes and dreams on the bucket list?