I wrote this review/blog post while participating in the Kids II Blogger Campaign and received monetary compensation and/or free products to facilitate my review.
Our kids are curious about their world from day one, and it’s so much fun to watch them learn, explore, and grow. As we get older, curiosity can help us learn and adapt, come up with solutions to problems, and help make our world a better place, in our own homes and in the community. Curiosity is an essential trait for success in today’s world, and as parents, it’s important to encourage our kids to be curious and foster their desire to learn. And we can start doing that as soon as they’re born!
There are lots of ways to encourage curiosity, and today, I want to talk about how to encourage curiosity in toddlers. My youngest is now 19-months-old, and he loves exploring and learning about the world around him. Sometimes I find him upstairs just wandering around with a toy in his hand! I want to always make sure that he stays curious and continues to have that desire to learn so he can figure out what he’s passionate about in life and then turn that into a career! I know that sounds like a long way away, but it will go a lot faster than I’d like, so I’m doing my part now. And you can, too! Here are 9 ways to encourage curiosity in toddlers:
1. Play peekaboo. What little kid doesn’t love peekaboo!? Show your toddler how to cover his own face and surprise you, too. If your toddler is older, try making it a little harder and hide behind a corner or in the next room and wait for him to find you. Or even hide a toy! We recently started hiding toys in our shirts and Little R tries his hardest to figure out where they go. He’s always so surprised when we pull them out to surprise him!
2. Read, read, read. Read all kinds of different books about all kinds of different things. Teach your child about new animals, read about kids in other countries, and provide touch-and-feel books so he can experience different textures. Curiosity is all about exploring and discovering, and reading is a great way to encourage those things.
3. Invest in Baby Einstein™ toys. When my oldest was a baby, we got a few Baby Einstein™ toys (some balls with things inside and a little music player) and my son LOVED them! In turn, my daughter loved them when she was a baby, and my youngest loved (and still loves) them, too! I did some research and love the mission of Baby Einstein, which is to cultivate curiosity in children, and even in parents! Don’t we all want more curiosity in our children’s lives (and ours!)?
We had the chance to try out the Baby Einstein™ Magic Touch Piano™, and my toddler LOVED it! He loved dancing to the music, he loved all the different songs, and he loved seeing what happened when he hit each part of the piano.
The Magic Touch Piano™ comes with color-coded music sheets so you can play familiar songs (like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” or “Ode to Joy”), and it has both a play and learn mode where your child can hear the notes each key on the piano makes, and a play along mode where you can both listen to the piano play on its own. It’s great for discovering colors and it also helps your little one appreciate music!
Honestly, my big kids (and even me!) had fun trying to play the songs on the music sheets. Just like all Baby Einstein™ toys, the Magic Touch Piano™ is a great way to encourage curiosity in toddlers.
4. Let them try things on their own. As a parent, sometimes I have a hard time stepping back and letting my kids do things on their own. But my kids aren’t going to learn and grow if I do everything for them! Try to let your toddler do a few things on their own (age-appropriate, of course). Maybe that’s holding a toothbrush while you move their arm or letting them put their shoes on by themselves. Either way, give them a chance to do it on their own, first!
5. Play with things in new ways. There are tons of ideas online for encouraging curiosity in toddlers. I love the idea of giving your toddler a chance to play with things they normally wouldn’t do (like putting pipe cleaners in a colander). They won’t ever learn to “think outside of the box” if they always do things the same way!
6. Let them make messes and don’t stress about them. Ugh! Again, this one is hard for me sometimes! But if your child is going to be open to exploring things, you need to be, too. So let them play in the dirt or help you bake cookies or use fingerpaints. You can always wash things (including your toddler!), and sometimes making a mess is fun!
7. Listen and dance to music together. Our family loves having “family dance parties” and listening to silly songs on YouTube. Baby Einstein™ even has their own YouTube channel, and there are lots of songs you can dance together to there! You can even dance to the music on the Magic Touch Piano™ if you wanted to! Music can boost creativity, so listening to it and dancing to it together is a great way to encourage curiosity in toddlers!
8. Don’t discourage things that are unique or different or tell them “the right way” to do things. If you want your child to be curious and to be open to discovering new ways to do things, you can’t always correct them when they do something a little bit differently. Let your toddler wear their socks on their hands or use a fork for their yogurt. It might make things a little harder, but they’ll learn things on their own!
9. Expose them to new things. Go to a children’s museum, to the park, or to the zoo. Always be looking for new things to expose your child to. The first time we took my toddler to the zoo he thought monkeys were dogs and started barking! This is something I’m always trying to work on!
Without curiosity, our world would be a completely different place. I found this YouTube video on the BabyEinstein channel while writing this post, and I thought it was a great visual for why we need to encourage our kids, even our toddlers, to be curious (seriously, I didn’t even have to include this but I wanted to because it was so powerful!).
There are lots of ways to encourage curiosity in toddlers. It can be fun for both you and your toddler, and you might even become a little more curious in the process! Good luck, mamas!