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9 Activities to Develop Curiosity in Kids

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

Curiosity is a core part of helping preschoolers develop early skills that they’ll further develop once they go to school, and so are key to academic success.

With a few simple activities to develop curiosity, 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?

Building curiosity in kids can happen in many ways. Being able to recognize the signs of a child’s blossoming curiosity 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 start to touch, smell, listen to and even taste the things around them.

As their minds develop, their bodies grow and they’ll develop their language skills. Your toddler’s inquisitiveness will lead them to ask questions about the world around them, such as “Why is the sky blue?”, but there are also other indicators of their curious nature.

You may notice your little one intently watching something or someone, and their posture and facial expressions may change as they mimic them.

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 may ask you about, whereas others they’ll aim to find answers to on their own.

A toddler’s insatiable sense of wonder is truly special. If you can encourage curiosity in preschool kids, this will be a gift 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 toddlers 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 – and love – the unexpected.

2. Curious kids are happier and healthier

Building curiosity in young kids may well contribute 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 well-being.

In short, this means that by nurturing your preschool kid’s curiosity, you’re giving them a better chance to live a healthier, happier life.

3. Curious kids are more self-aware

Curiosity lends itself to all aspects of life. It doesn’t only encourage toddlers 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 toddlers 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

A toddler’s curiosity actually helps the brain to prepare for learning, making curious children adept problem-solvers. It’s no wonder that studies have shown 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 put considerable effort into learning something new.

9 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 that will show you how to develop curiosity in kids.

1. Give them food for thought

Learning doesn’t just happen at school: it happens everywhere, and creating a home that’s conducive to 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. Even something as simple as the food you give your toddler can be an exciting learning experience.

It’s never too early to develop kids’ curiosity about how their food gets on the table and where it comes from. Exploring the magical process of how you start with a bee and end up with the sticky stuff toddlers love to lick off their fingers, serves up a whole load of learning in just one bite. LEGO DUPLO Caring for Bees & Beehives can teach them where food comes from, how the natural world exists in a fine balance, how the weather grows the plants, how the plants feed the bees, and how the bees pollinate the plants.

2. Ask open-ended questions and teach them to be self-aware

By asking open-ended questions to your toddler, 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 will get them thinking for themselves.

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

LEGO DUPLO sets are designed to spark this vital open-ended enquiry so they can start to explore their own feelings about situations, such as what makes them happy and what makes them sad. Only by knowing and understanding themselves can your little learners become children who identify and appreciate other people’s feelings.

3. Provide play materials that engage children’s senses

Where some toys are designed to be played with in a certain way, with little room to diverge, the best toys to develop curiosity are designed to help children discover their own unique solutions to problems while figuring out how things work.

Children’s senses, mental abilities and problem-solving skills 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, weight, balance and symmetry to make something that fulfills their own creative need.

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 give them the ‘correct’ answer, instead let their curiosity guide them to create what looks right for them.

4. Celebrate your toddlers’ questions and build their curiosity confidence

Ever noticed your toddler staring at people who look different to them? While this may make you feel uncomfortable, of course they’re not being rude. This is just them making sense of the world around them and identifying differences. While staring at people isn’t to be encouraged, asking questions definitely is!

Toddlers may have lots of questions as to why someone is different to them, but they may not know how to ask. Building a toddler’s confidence in questioning things is key to nurturing their curiosity. With their diverse characters, LEGO DUPLO sets celebrate differences and let toddlers explore how the world is filled with people of all kinds. Our Buildable People with Big Emotions playset lets toddler make an array of interesting people displaying the many emotions we all sometimes feel. It’s a great way to help your toddler express all the questions they have about people but just don’t know how to ask.

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. Even preschoolers can get to grips with coding concepts, such as sequencing, looping and conditional coding! And what’s best is that they don’t need fancy devices and top-end electronics to do this.

By inventing a story, creating its twist and turns and deciding on a conclusion, your toddler is already developing problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills. With our LEGO DUPLO train sets, preschoolers stack bricks, devise the tracks, build destinations and decide which route the train should take. All of this helps them develop perseverance, decision-making skills and spatial awareness, all key STEM skills they use later on down the track.

6. Let them learn without limits

Even at their tender age, toddlers have an incredible capacity to absorb knowledge. It’s hardly a surprise when you consider that a preschool kid’s brain is 80% grown by the age of 3! Even the youngest of learners can digest what we grown-ups might think are quite advanced concepts. Ever been astonished at how preschoolers can remember the most complicated dinosaur names? It’s important never to assume that anything is too complex for our toddlers’ young minds to engage with.

Which is why at LEGO DUPLO we put no limits on learning. Teach your little astronaut about the galaxy, zero gravity, the laws of physics and how the planetary orbit creates day and night. Sounds complicated? Well, it’s actually easy with the right learning tools – or toys as we call them at LEGO HQ!

And the added benefit of LEGO DUPLO 3-in-1 toys is that toddlers can choose between 3 different builds across several different interests – meaning there are always lots of possibilities to discover new things!

7. Show your toddler our diverse and wonderful world.

By seeking out new experiences within your local community, you can stimulate your preschool 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 like 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.

8. 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.

9. Be your preschooler’s curiosity companion

Toddlers can’t learn alone. Toddlers 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 your own backyard are all wonderful ways to explore with your child and get their brains thinking about the world around them.

The best way preschoolers learn is with you as their teacher and their active partner in exploration. And that’s how it should be, because we know the best way to develop curiosity in preschool kids is to have fun! Babies and toddlers are born learners, so as their caregiver, if you can stimulate their curiosity, you’ll nurture a love of life-long learning for your child.

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