How to Nurture Curious and Inquisitive Young Minds
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”
Professor Stephen Hawking
Why are curiosity and inquisitiveness important?
The confidence to question is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. The ability to answer questions comes further down the list – it’s that sense of wonder that is such an important building block.
It’s not just vital for learning, but also to navigate the wide world. Knowing how to question, for example, if a news story can be trusted, whether a politician’s promise can be believed, how to find out how something works, and so on, is vital for us all.
We’re all born with an innate curiosity. First words soon form first questions: “Why shoes? Why breakfast? Why moon?” Although admittedly infuriating at times, the ‘why’ phase is a wonderful first glimpse into an enquiring young mind. If we nurture this curiosity in our children, who knows what great questions they may ask throughout their lives – and what incredible answers they might be driven to find!
How can we encourage this innate curiosity and create the next generation of scientists, politicians and change makers?
1. Question everything
Children are little sponges, so sharing your own enquiring mind with your curious children can encourage their own questions. On a journey, you might wonder: “Where does that road lead?”, “What will that new building look like when it’s finished?” or “How does gritting the road stop us from slipping?” While cooking lunch, you could ask, “Will turning the heat up make this cook faster?” or “How do these food scraps turn into compost?” At bedtime, read the start of a story, then prompt, “What happens next?” Who knows what other questions, lively debate or answers you’ll inspire (and, let’s be realistic, the occasional “Shhhhh mum/dad!” is inevitable, too!)
2. Foster a “give it a try” mentality
Answers aren’t the aim of this game: it’s the confidence to speak out when something has got you wondering. Helping your child to understand that you don’t have to know or understand everything, but instead that the process of learning itself can be exciting and rewarding. Add the word “yet” onto the end of frustrated cries of “I don’t know how,” “I don’t understand” and “I can’t do it” to turn defeat into the start of a voyage of curiosity.
3. Celebrate mistakes
Getting things wrong can be annoying and hard for any of us to handle, but mistakes can also be funny, informative and surprising. Did you know that Play-doh, Saccharin sweetener and the microwave were all the result of accidental discoveries? Help your child to understand why something hasn’t worked as expected, get excited about any surprising results, then work out how you can vary the process to get a different outcome next time!
4. Add a little Whizz Pop Bang!
Whizz Pop Bang is a curiosity-awakening, fact-packed magazine bursting with hands-on experiments and activities, mind-bending puzzles and the latest news from the world of science. Surprise your scientist-in-the-making with a subscription and nurture that curiosity. Click here to take a look inside a space-themed sample issue, where you can find out how to cook potato planets, make a Martian atmosphere, craft a solar system model and so much more. Mission: Awaken Curiosity accomplished!
Simply Learning Tuition readers can get a free issue of Whizz Pop Bang with any new subscription, using code SLTWPB at the checkout. To subscribe visit https://www.whizzpopbang.com/nurturingcuriosity/