How to Develop and Nurture Curiosity in Kids

How to Develop and Nurture Curiosity in Kids

Curiosity, the desire to learn and gain new knowledge, is a key skill for everyone, but it’s particularly important for children. It’s the driving force that encourages kids to explore and question the world around them. 

While all parents hope their children will be open-minded and eager to learn new skills, nurturing their curious side is a core part of developing their academic skills and giving them a lifelong love of learning. 

With a few puzzles and problem-solving activities, from toys to fun games, kids can build their investigative skills and grow an interest in how the world works and their place within it. 

What does curiosity look like?

Curiosity can appear in many ways, and recognizing the signs of a curious child is an important step in helping them open their minds. 

In their earliest years, a child’s curiosity is impulsive as they’re naturally drawn to new things. Young children will often engage all their senses as they seek understanding, you’ll recognize this as they touch, smell, listen to and even taste the things around them. 

As their minds develop, their bodies grow and they learn to talk, your child’s inquisitiveness will lead them to ask questions, like “Why is the sky blue?” but there are other indicators of their curious nature. 

You may notice your child intently watching something or someone, their posture and facial expressions may change and they might continue to touch, taste and smell things to seek a better understanding of them. 

For older children, curiosity may mean they are asking questions about more complex challenges they may be facing at school and out in the world. They may start to gain an interest in topics such as politics, STEM and equality and begin to have conversations around these.

Top 5 Curiosity Benefits

Childhood is a really special time, where your kid’s curiosity makes them want to know practically everything about everything. Their developing minds are teeming with questions, some of which they’ll likely ask you whereas others they’ll aim to find answers on their own. 

A child’s insatiable sense of wonder is truly special and encouraging your kid’s curiosity is a gift that they can benefit from for the rest of their lives. As well as fueling their desire to learn, there are countless benefits for children with a curious mind. 

1. Curious kids have better instincts and survival skills 

Survival instincts aren’t just for adventurers and people stranded on desert islands: they’re an important part of everyone’s skillset as they help us to stay vigilant and be adaptable to an ever-changing environment. 

As children explore the world around them and seek new experiences, they teach themselves to be ready for different eventualities. By discovering new things that continue to surprise and delight them, they learn to expect the unexpected. 

2. Curious kids are happier and healthier 

All parents want their children to live happy lives and nurturing their curiosity may be the key to both short and long-term happiness. More curious people tend to experience greater positive emotions and have less anxiety. This in turn helps them feel more satisfied in life, which contributes to better psychological wellbeing. 

In short, this means that by nurturing your kid’s curiosity, you’re giving them a better chance to live a long, healthy and happy life. 

3. Curious kids are more self-aware

Curiosity lends itself to all aspects of life. It doesn’t only encourage kids to question the world around them, it can lead them on a quest for self-discovery as they become curious about themselves as well. 

This curiosity to better understand their mind and personality can often lead them to question their perceptions and better themselves by acquiring new skills. 

4. Curious kids are more empathetic 

As well as wanting to know more about themselves, curious children are also interested in the people around them, which is key to developing connections with other children and adults. 

Such an interest in people can lead kids to gain an even greater understanding of the world through the eyes of others. By engaging with other people and learning about their values, experiences, perspectives and beliefs, children develop greater empathy for everyone.

5. Curious kids are better problem solvers and more knowledgeable - accomplishing more socially and academically

As curiosity is all about the desire to learn, it’s no wonder that curious kids are more likely to succeed academically. Because they’re genuinely interested in things they don’t yet know or understand, curious children find it much easier to get involved and give considerable effort into learning something new. 

This mentality continues outside of academic settings as curious kids are often better at solving problems on their own and being socially adept.

10 Activities to Develop Curiosity

What’s beautiful about curiosity is that it’s inclusive. Every child can be given the physical, psychological and cognitive benefits of having a curious mind, simply by being encouraged to be curious! 

Kids’ curiosity doesn’t have to wane as they grow. Learning happens naturally when children can fulfill their curiosity via safe, self-directed and playful exploration. Children's observations fuel emotional, social, intellectual, physical and ethical development all at the same time. 

Take a look at some of the top activities to develop curiosity in kids. 

1. Create a Learning Environment at Home

Learning doesn’t just happen at school: it happens everywhere, and creating a home that’s conducive for learning and cognitive development is an important part of keeping them curious.

This means giving them access to books and materials that allow for open-ended play, like colored pencils and paper. You can also fill your home with rich sensory experiences by playing music, displaying wall art, and giving your child new foods to try.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions and Prompt Thinking

By sharing questions with your child you’ll be able to inspire their curiosity while also showing that you care about what they have to say. Open-ended questions don’t have a straightforward answer like “yes” and “no” as there are often many ways to answer such a question, which is bound to get them thinking for themselves. 

Asking your child questions like “How do you feel about…” and “What do you think will happen if…” can encourage children to develop their own ideas and how to articulate themselves while shedding light on their interests and perspectives. 

3. Provide Play Materials that Engage Children’s Senses

Where some toys are designed to be played within a certain way, with little room to diverge, some toys are designed to help children discover solutions to problems while figuring out how things work. 

Children's senses and mental abilities are stimulated by creative building bricks, play sand, dolls, puzzles, non-toxic art materials and interlocking toys. When building structures and sets, children can experiment with size, shape, number and texture as well as weight, balance and symmetry. 

It’s important to let your child take the lead when playing rather than instruct them or tell them what something should look like. While it can be tempting to guide them, let their curiosity guide them instead. 

4. Respectfully Listen and Respond to Children’s Questions Simply and Clearly

Children have a lot on their minds, and with that, they often have a lot of questions on the tips of their tongues. It’s important to listen carefully to your child’s questions and respond in a way they understand. 

If they still seem confused after you’ve answered a question, try asking them if they understood everything, and if not ask them to clarify what they don’t get so you can work together to help them learn. If you don’t know something yourself, that’s okay! Just tell them so and work out the answer together. 

It’s important for your child to feel comfortable with not knowing and be confident when asking questions. This way, they won’t be afraid to continue asking until they understand to the best of their ability and are satisfied with the answer. 

5. Engage Curiosity with Simple, Hands-on STEM Activities

STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities are a great way to engage your child’s curiosity while developing their appetite for scientific discovery and problem-solving. Kids aged 9+ will particularly love LEGO® Technic™ sets which allow them to learn about engineering as well as other topics like AR technology. What’s more, it’s never too early for a child to start developing their skills in these areas. For example, preschoolers can get to grips with coding concepts, such as sequencing, looping and conditional coding, while developing problem-solving skills, critical thinking, collaboration, and social and emotional skills. 

6. Show Your Kids the World and Do Activities as a Family

Kids of all ages love to explore, but they love exploring, even more, when it’s a shared experience! Taking children on family trips can be a great way to inspire them and spark their curiosity while creating valuable memories. 

A trip to a museum, zoo, community center, LEGOLAND®, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, or even camping in the great outdoors are all wonderful ways to explore with your child and get their brains thinking about the world around them.

7. Provide Kids with Basic Discovery Tools

Whether they’re exploring the world with you or on their own, having the right tools and toys at their disposal can help them develop key skills while learning about their environment. 

For example, a magnifying glass, magnet, bucket & spade, bug catcher, or even a measuring tape are all ways for kids to take their curiosity a step further than just observing as they can interact and investigate the things around them. 

As well as learning about the world around them, you can help your older kids 9 to 12 years old hone in on their problem-solving skills while introducing them to the world of computer science with the LEGO® MINDSTORMS®

With LEGO® Creator 3-in-1 kids can choose between 3 different builds across several different interests - meaning there are several possibilities to discover new things! 

8. Get Involved in Your Local Community 

By seeking out new experiences within your local community, you can stimulate your kid’s curiosity. This can include taking them with you on simple errands such as grocery shopping or on more exciting events such as communal celebrations such as parades and festivals. 

You can even take your child to an event that benefits the community with volunteering activities such as beach and/or park clean-ups.

9. Encourage Collecting

Many of our adult builders started out collecting when they were kids. As kids explore the world, they’ll enjoy collecting things along the way such as pebbles, shells, stickers and even toys, all of which can act as trophies to mark each journey of discovery. 

As well as engaging their creativity, kids that collect things learn the value of responsibility and patience as they grow and care for their treasured collections. 

Kids can also grow a collection of characters with LEGO® Minifigures, which can be played with or put on display. As each Minifigure comes sealed in a ‘mystery’ bag, growing a collection becomes super exciting, which helps kids develop their passion for collecting.

10. Use Minimal Restriction as Safely as Possible and Let Kids be Kids

Of all the ways to help nurture your kid’s curiosity, perhaps the most important (and the simplest) is to let them explore, discover, learn and satisfy their curiosity in their own way. 

As well as letting them fully appreciate the joys of solving and discovering things on their own, by allowing them to play with minimal restrictions kids can build confidence and develop a greater appreciation for learning. 

With our LEGO® Education sets and all of the activities we mentioned earlier, kids can safely learn to problem solve and build their critical thinking skills while engaging their curiosity for STEM topics.

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