In early childhood, curiosity is a part of the child’s development process, having an essential role in social, cognitive and emotional evolution. Curiosity is what determines the desire to explore and learn from the baby’s first months. By stimulating his curiosity, you help him gain confidence, develop a boundless imagination and build a foundation for the skills he will need in adult life. Therefore, the adults that are part of a child’s life, both at home and in the nursery, should facilitate a safe environment, full of exploration opportunities that stimulate the child’s curiosity. Find out what activities you can do to stimulate your child’s curiosity.
Curiosity first develops at home
There are three ways in which parents constrain the child’s enthusiastic exploration: fear, disapproval, and absence.
Young children run, cling onto the surrounding objects, pull things, they want to discover textures, are tempted to taste all objects, are surprised by the bitter taste of a lemon or the sweetness of honey, a light in the dark or the coldness of the snow. Parents need to observe the child’s actions, first and foremost, to ensure a safe environment but at the same time an environment that does not inhibit exploration. Secondly, observation has the role of helping you discover what attracts the child, what are his curiosities, in order for you to seek and provide opportunities tailored to his interests.
If you actively participate in your child’s exploratory actions, trying to adopt his perspective, you convey not only confidence but also the enthusiasm of discovery. In addition, in early childhood, the celebration of each success has a huge impact on the development of the child. It is very important to acknowledge and celebrate his achievements as this helps him develop self-esteem and gain confidence.
Then, as they grow older, their curiosity grows more and more and questions arise that will challenge your patience and willingness to ponder and explain in a way that’s accessible. Remember that the most important thing for your child is for you to be present, to really listen and respond.
Activities to stimulate your child’s curiosity at home
• Questions are a classic tool for a 3-year-old, this being the age when he is looking for answers. To increase curiosity, answer in a simple and honest way and add a new question. This exchange enhances creative thinking and finding solutions. Keep in mind that children often just want to ask themselves “out loud” and come up with answers for themselves.
• Preschoolers sometimes find it difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Therefore, they are attracted to objects and phenomena that seem almost magical, such as jelly, which looks like a solid body, but reacts like a liquid when manipulated. Among the exploration opportunities, you can provide are sensory games where the child can discover new textures.
• Unstructured play is another great way to encouraged children to follow their desire for discovery. By giving your child-free time to play, you allow him to exercise his curiosity and imagination. The child should have the chance to play both by himself and with other children, and adults should not intervene unless absolutely necessary.
How to stimulate children’s curiosity in the nursery
Teachers and carers should help maintain children’s natural curiosity, persevere in their pursuits, and be eager to discover as many notions as possible.
“It’s important to provide a safe and attractive environment for each child, for each temperament and style of exploration. While some children may be interested in exploring the visible world (nature, animals or humans), others may be attracted to the non-physical world and feel curios about things they cannot touch and feel ”- Valentina Secară, founder of the Early Education Conference and modern education training projects for adults.
First, offer opportunities for children to spend time in nature, to look for answers that satisfy their curiosity. Secondly, the best strategy is to provide answers according to their level of understanding.
What is important is to express the same joy that children have when they discover a new answer. Share their enthusiasm and listen to the experiences they want to share. This is an important part of the learning cycle and gives them confidence and encourages them to continue being curious. At the same time, do not insist if a child does not want to participate in an activity or talk about it.
Activities that stimulate children’s curiosity in the nursery
• A young child is driven by the curiosity to find out everything about the world, to search and find answers. Treasure Hunt is a game that fuels the child’s desire to explore. You can also organize small trips where children can discover new environments and make observations. A visit to the museum can be a fascinating experience.
• Three-year-olds are excited about events that take them by surprise, so it is important to find constant ways to maintain and extend their curiosity. For example, fill a container with coloured bottle caps of different sizes and textures and leave it in a place where children can find it. Surely, they will be fascinated by this discovery and, eager to investigate, will begin to sort them, to find similarities and alternative ways in which they can be used. Children will feel confident that they can turn their discovery into whatever they want.
• Children are fascinated by experiments. Inspire interest in logic and mathematics, for example, by doing simple experiments such as floating and diving.