Children are naturally curious and eager to try to learn new things. As parents, we can build on this natural curiosity to inspire our child’s interest in the world around them by turning everyday events into learning opportunities.

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Encourage Exploration

Make sure you provide unstructured time for exploration. Whether it is a neighborhood park, the zoo, a museum, or your own backyard, encourage your child to explore new places and seek out new experiences.  Also, encourage your child to try something new each day – eating a new food, listening to a different type of music, or watching a new television show. Display enthusiasm for any subject your child shows an interest in, providing access to materials to explore and enhance their interest.

Participate in Activities and Projects

Sit with your toddler and color with them, play in the backyard with your child, and help your older child with a school project. Make sure you do not tell your child to do things in a particular way or do things for them, but be there to provide support and inspiration.

Include Your Child in Your Own Learning

Make sure you child is involved whenever you are learning something new. If you are taking classes, share what you are learning with a sense of excitement. When you search the internet, share with them how you search and find information. You can even ask your child if there is something they would like to find out about and then search the internet with them.

Provide Your Child with Tools for Exploration

Provide all the required things to inspire exploration. Books, magazines, craft supplies, computer access and reference materials not only stimulate their brains, but also help them find creative ways to use what they learn. Materials do not need to be expensive. You can save empty paper rolls, jars, cans, material scrapes, and other recycled materials in a basket or bin to use for craft projects.

If you need some suggestions of where to start to inspire your child’s interest in the world, try one of the following:

  • Have your child sit outside and be very still, watching the world around them. My father had me do this when I was about twelve, next to a small pond. I saw a mouse come down to get a drink, a fish come to the surface for a bug, and a beautiful butterfly. I still remember that experience 50+ years later.
  • Pick an item from around your house, and have your child find out its origin and/or composition.
  • Have your child read a legend or folktale.
  • Look at images of the earth taken from space or explore Google Earth on the internet.
  • Give your child an inexpensive microscope so they can look at things closely.
  • Take your child to a farmer’s market, fair, or food festival.

To inspire your child’s interest in the world around them, turn everyday events into learning opportunities. Encourage your child to explore the world, asking questions, making connections, and trying new things. The lessons they learn will last a lifetime.

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