Keep wonder alive

For toddlers, each day holds the potential for new adventures. Here are six ways to kindle their curiosity.

Learning Stages

Everyone who knows a toddler knows that they’re naturally curious and imaginative. For toddlers, each day holds the potential for new adventures, and a simple cardboard box can be anything. This natural sense of wonder is what makes children such a joy to be around.

As a parent, I want to do everything I can to keep this sense of wonder alive for as long as possible. But I struggle with this in the day-to-day. With all the tasks I need to accomplish each day, it’s easy to lose sight of wonder, imagination and the world of “what if.” Here are some ideas I’ve tried that can help you incorporate a little wonder into every day.

Try seeing what isn’t there

Look up at the clouds, and point out the shapes you see. Give yourself time. I can’t see anything at first, but after a while the pictures starting jumping out at me.

Make up a “what if” statement

Use it to start a fun conversation with your child: “What if cats could talk?” “What if you were the grown up and I was the kid?” “What if we could fly?”

Don’t answer your child’s question

This may sound strange since we’re so used to answering every question our children ask. But the next time your child shows curiosity about something new, try reply with “I wonder…”  As children’s language skills expand, they’ll come up with ideas and guesses.

Practice wondering

In this age of information accessibility, it’s so easy to look up the answer to any question. Instead, try wondering out loud. When passing a construction site say, “I wonder what those workers are building.” Upon seeing an unfamiliar fruit in the grocery store say, “I wonder what this fruit tastes like.” Or when you finish a roll of paper towels pose, “I wonder what we can make out of this.”

Expose your child to different types of art

A toddler won’t have much patience for an art gallery, so it may not feel worth the price of admission to go to one. Find out about the free days at your local museums and take your toddler for an early and quick trip through the most interesting galleries. No explanations will be necessary as you both wander around wondering!

Think outside the box

Your child doesn’t even know about the box yet, so practice ignoring it right alongside him. Toddlers often find new and interesting uses for things we didn’t even think of. Unless something or someone is being harmed, try to allow for divergent thinking and actions. Applaud your child’s creativity.

While the pace of life may not allow us to stop and smell the roses as often as we’d like, try to squeeze in some “wonder time” each day.  Please share your favorite ways to sprinkle wonder into your days.

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