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  • Mark Ammon

Embracing and Encouraging Curiosity in our Children

Encouraging curiosity in children

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”Eleanor Roosevelt

Curiosity…it’s what drives us to learn, it’s what sparks ideas, it’s what encourages us all to explore and be creative in every part of our life. Children are, at heart, curious creatures. We’ve all had the constant ‘Why?’ questions from our children and even though this can be draining it is actually something to celebrate. A curious mind is an open mind. So how can we build on our children’s curiosity?

curious child with a butterfly

Show them the world at large

To spark curiosity children need to be exposed to a varying number of different situations and places. How can they be curious about something that they don’t even know exists? Get your children outside in nature and get them to really look around. Use their senses, what can they hear, touch, smell? Encourage your child’s natural questioning, wonder out loud "I wonder why the leaves on the trees are green?" Your child will learn from you so lead by example. If you seen enthralled and excited by everything you see, so will they. Children remember experiences, the excitement they felt in planning and the happiness afterward. Memories can last a lifetime so get outside and make them together!

Curiousity and talking to your child

Talk to your child at every opportunity

The importance of talk is well known and much talked about but it is the key to everything for successful learning to take place. From a very young age children need to hear words, phrases and conversation and they crave it. With a child in a pushchair, try and make sure they face you for as long as possible to encourage talk. Model inquisitive questioning and remark on everything you do even how mundane and boring it might be to you.

encourage curiosity with your child interests

Encourage natural interests

If your child is interested in a certain activity, be it sport, art or music, give them opportunities to do that activity as much as you can. Sparking a child’s interest and encouraging them to do it will naturally led them to explore it in more detail. Curiosity leads to exploration and problem solving so encouraging these activities can be just what a child needs to light the spark.

Asking open ended questions to encourage children's curiosity

Ask open-ended questions.

We have discussed questioning and talk previously but the kind of questioning is also crucial in getting children to think in a deeper way. Use words like who, what, when, where, why and how when talking to your child. If you model this language your child will learn from this and do it themselves when asking questions. This will promote a deeper understanding of how and why things work and will naturally lead to more questions about the subject.

Promote Deeper Thinking to encourage curiousity in children

Prompt deeper thinking

Another useful tool when your children has a question is to ask for their thoughts first before answering their question. They might ask “Why is the sky blue”, instead of answering straight away ask them why they think it is. This kind of question prompts reasoning and ideas which are key to being a curious person. If you don’t have the answer to any of their questions, say so. Let them know it’s okay not to have all the answers. This also provides an opportunity to model how to find answers. Go with your child to the library, search on the internet or call someone else who might know.

Unstructured play encourages curiosity

Let the children play

Unstructured child led play is a great way to nurture and develop your children's curiosity and sense of discovery. Children are naturally inquisitive beings and will bring this into their play naturally. If you have modelled good open ended questioning and deeper thinking with your child then you will hear this come out in role-play activities when they play with others. Structured or adult led play can also aid curiosity. Unlike some toys that are designed to be used a certain way, materials like boxes, blocks, water, sand, pots and pans, and any art material, can be used imaginatively. Do not tell your child what to do with the material, how to do it or what it should look like in the end. Let your child’s curiosity be their guide.

Curiosity is what drives change and our whole civilisation forward. It is such an important skill to teach our children and will lead to a life long love of finding out answers. I will leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein:

“I am neither clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious.”

About Jabberwocky Nursery

Jabberwocky Childrens Nursery is a Nursery and Preschool dedicated to providing the best that an Early Years setting has to offer in a colourful, spacious, purpose built environment. We believe in creating magical places for children and engaging children’s curiosity and imagination to inspire lifelong learning in a safe, loving, enabling environment. We embrace the fact that all children are unique and special and we strive to offer a programme of care and education that not only ensures children experience all areas of the ‘Foundation Stage Framework’ but that also appeals to every kind of learner.

Jabberwocky is easy to get to from Street and also Glastonbury, Butleigh and Meare. So if you are looking for a Day Nursery in Street or looking for a Day Nursery in Glastonbury or other local Mendip Somerset towns then please come and see us!

Visit the Jabberwocky Nursery website at:

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