Encouraging Your Child To Be Curious

Curiosity is an essential quality in children. It motivates them to learn new things, develop new skills and explore the world around them. They sit in their car seats and observe the world around them. Everything is new to them, whether it's an ant carrying a breadcrumb ten times its size or a snail crawling along a wet sidewalk. Sometimes, your child's natural curiosity can be a source of distraction. For example, when you have an appointment and need to get your child to the nursery on time so as not to miss the bus. But it also reminds you of the time when the movement of a snail could fascinate you for long minutes. It's quite simple: babies love to discover the world around them. Find out here how to stimulate your child's curiosity in a playful way.

Make shopping an adventure

For your child, taking used clothes to charity is more than just a line on a to-do list. It's the perfect opportunity to rummage through piles of scarves and try on lots of different shoes! Is it raining? Take your time! Take the opportunity to go to the local grocery store while jumping in puddles, shaking branches to make the drops fall and showing your child how to catch them with his tongue! Look for shapes in the clouds together. Your child will be amazed at what he sees. Then go home and make a hot chocolate with a cloud of cream. You can also serve it with cloud-shaped mashed potatoes!

A child in a shopping cart.

Encourage your child's spirit of adventure by turning small excursions into real journeys. Start by dressing for the occasion. Your child can wear a fireman's helmet or take along a flashlight and something to snack on. Ask your child to bring along a stuffed toy or doll that can serve as a travel companion. And don't forget to bring souvenirs! A "travel box" can come in handy on rainy days.

Working parents often feel guilty about not having enough time for outings and creative activities: "I only see my daughter in the evening, and I only have enough time to cook and bathe her". But with a little imagination, even a tired parent can turn a simple dinner into a buffet and a bath into an ocean. That's all your child needs.

Make time for your child

A family petting a horse.
As you may have noticed, children love to go for walks. They live in the moment and concentrate fully on everything they encounter. It's not always possible to adapt to your child's pace, but if you can, try to make time for him. Has he seen a ladybug? Let him climb up its arm, or yours if he's scared. Count the dots on its wings together, talk about what it eats, where it lives and what it can do at night. If you come across a woodlouse or earthworm while gardening, show it to your child. Let him play with it (gently, of course) or place the animal in a glass container for your child to observe for a few minutes. Then let your child release it. If you're driving through a town and pass a billboard, stop for a moment to observe it. Play a guessing game: "Where's the man with the funny hat?", "Where's the red car?", "Where's the big dog?

Your child doesn't always share your wishes. On a visit to the zoo, you exclaim: "Look at the camel!", "Look at the elephant!", while your child is only interested in the pigeons and squirrels rummaging through the garbage. Let him look. These animals are more reasonable in size and closer to him. What's more, his interest in nature will be stimulated just as much.

Observe the changes

Children love change, probably because they themselves change so quickly. Start with the changes around your child. Make a wish when the first star appears in the sky, and watch the moon every day for a week and comment on its changing shape.

A little boy waters a tree

You can also create your own transformations. Plant beans or lentils in a pot and count the number of days it takes for them to grow. Or place a flower bulb in a jar so your child can observe how the stems and roots develop. Place a stalk of celery in a container filled with water and red food coloring. Observe how long it takes for the stalk to turn red as well. Mix cornflour with water to make a half-liquid, half-solid paste, or pour white vinegar into baking soda and watch the reaction. Better still, if you turn the dough into a cake, the kids are sure to be delighted. Many parents who find it difficult to prepare dinner resort to the gelatine trick: dissolve one or two sachets of gelatine in water. Let your child stir while the mixture solidifies, then ask him to touch it with his finger.

If you can get your child to watch a chick hatch from its shell, or a butterfly from its doll, you'll be a hero! But don't panic if you don't succeed. A block of ice melting on a sunny terrace will have the same effect.

Enjoy the seasons

Help your child understand the changing seasons by focusing on what he sees, hears, touches and smells. Remove leaves from the sidewalk on your way home from nursery and count how many new ones have fallen the next morning. Blow bubbles and observe the direction of the wind. Place a bucket outside and use a stick or ruler to measure rain or snow. Listen for the first birds of spring and watch for the first snowflakes.

A child picking apples in autumn.

The seasons are marked by different changes and events. You can celebrate Halloween in autumn, Christmas, Eid and Hanukkah in winter, Easter in spring and summer vacations. Your child may not remember what you did last year, but children love traditions. Many experts confirm that their memory develops early. Read books and sing songs together to learn and celebrate seasonal traditions like Christmas, Hanukkah or Ramadan. Seasonal foods will also arouse your child's curiosity and help them discover new smells, textures and flavors.

Everything small is cute

Children love little things: buttons, pearls, stones and so on. It's hard to say why, but perhaps it's because they can't even see the top of the table from where they are. Of course, you have to be wary of objects that are too small, as they can be dangerous. Any small object (or one the size of your child's mouth) can present a choking hazard. But as long as there's no danger, counting and arranging wooden beads or large plastic buttons in boxes (or, outdoors, pebbles or shells in buckets) may fascinate your child for a while.

Children play in a tepee.

You may also have noticed that your child likes small, warm spaces that give him a sense of privacy and ownership. If you have bunk beds, hang blankets from the top bunk to turn the bottom bunk into a cave, or cover the kitchen table with a large sheet to build a tent or tree, or hang long branches outside to build a tree or bush house. Then ask your child to bring children's plates and cutlery into this hiding place. Children love objects adapted to their size, because they can handle them easily. What's more, they can use these tools for all kinds of cooking experiments and construction projects.

Encourage passions

Pirates, dinosaurs, fairies, horses: nobody knows exactly how children's compulsive interest in certain things comes about, but it's a widespread phenomenon that offers perfect learning opportunities. Is your child fascinated by firefighters? Give her a helmet and a hose to play with in the garden in summer. The first thing your daughter does in the morning is put on her tutu? Encourage her passion by attending a rehearsal at a dance studio, or take her to see a show near you. Do anything so she can see older children working hard to realize their dreams. Even though local shows can sometimes seem too amateurish for adults, young children can get a close-up look at what's going on.

A child plays with dinosaurs.

You can also find picture books that will let your child learn all about the life of a dancer or a fireman. And if you can't find children's books on your child's hobby, don't worry - any book with big, colorful pictures will do.

Search for answers

From the color of the sky to why steam comes out of the kettle when the water boils, children ask an incredible number of questions that parents can't always answer. If your child asks you a question, don't panic! Tell them you'll find the answer together. Make a list of the things you need to clarify and let your child watch you complete the list. Take this list with you when you go to the library or bookshop. Museums are often designed to answer children's questions. You'll also find plenty of answers on the Internet.

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