A parent recently asked me what is the main difference I see in children today from when I started forty years ago.
While the technology used by the preschool child, of course, is the biggest change I see—the most prominent change I see is the lack of curiosity in many children.
We use a weekly theme in our program to foster new vocabulary, new ideas, more questioning, and, yes, more curiosity. Right now children can experience a caterpillar go through metamorphosis to become a butterfly. The children, sadly, don’t even look in its direction.
It is the child with the curious mind who will solve tomorrow’s problems. We need curious children. When we read Curious George books, I remind the children that “curious” does not mean bad. It means that he is interested in how things work.
You can foster more creativity and curiosity by:
- Using technology to help your child learn new things—not just play games to keep them amused.
- Remembering that fantasy and curiosity are different. I took my grandchildren to Disney World for fantasy. I took them to NASA for satisfying curiosity. Curiosity leads to questioning. Fantasy arouses the imagination. Both are needed.
- Not hurrying children. We need to slow down and explore with children. Look at rocks, trees, and flowers. Let children form questions.
- Exploring the world around your child. Follow a letter through the post office, visit the fire department, stop at a nursing home, and take in all opportunities around the child.
- Using vacations to learn about the area and visit museums. On our last trip to Cape Cod, we went to a glass factory, a potato chip factory, and museums. Sure we went to the beach and water parks –but my child was raised by a mom who helped him soak up his world. It was so sweet that on my last trip to visit him he took me to the Kennedy Library and Museum. He knows his mom!
- Allowing your child to play. Too much today is choreographed—sports, dance, gymnastics, etc. Kids need to make bubbles from scratch, compare mud samples, and play, play, play. They will naturally drift toward things to question and you will be there to help them find the answers.
Please explore with your child each and every day. Look up companies on billboards and find out what they do. Inventions and scientific break-throughs come from being curious. So let your little “Curious George” out there to explore.