The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.

How to Raise a Curious Kid

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.
The paint brush icon represents creativity. For content about raising a creative child, look for this icon.
The holding hands icon represents caring. For content about raising a caring child, look for this icon.
The thumbs up icon represents confidence. For content about raising a confident child, look for this icon.
Kids are exceptionally active thinkers. From an early age, they’re flexing and stretching their mental muscles in order to learn and explore. It’s important to support and challenge them to grow their intellect, to follow their curiosity.
kids peering into fishing net

We want children to become versatile, quick thinkers, able to come up with an answer and explain how they got there. We want them to observe, compare, infer, recall, classify, identify causal relationships, and draw conclusions, and also to generate multiple ideas, to be curious, creative, and imaginative.

Kids inherently share many of the same traits and attitudes about the natural world as scientists, constantly asking Why? How? What if…? When we encourage these questions and open thinking, we support and foster their curiosity.

How children seek and pursue answers is a key part of the way they develop their thinking skills. A curious child is an engaged child. Materials—including toys and games, books and magazines, movies and videos—should engage and stimulate a child’s thinking. It’s not about providing answers, as that simply shuts down thought. It’s about whetting a child’s appetite to ponder and muse about possibilities and, in turn, to learn more about the world and what’s in their heads.

The key—and part of the challenge—in raising a curious child is to present facts and information in a way that is cogent, well considered, and stimulating. Offering a series of impressive or outrageous facts does little to inform the child and the world in which she lives. Instead, when we supply details and information about the scientific phenomena they encounter in daily life, we encourage kids to look at their world with new eyes. This not only gives them information in relevant context, but it also helps them build on existing knowledge.

As babies explore their surroundings, they are laying the foundations of scientific inquiry and developing an understanding of the world. Safe, open-ended, and tactile interactions support their curiosity.

A preschooler’s universe is her home and immediately surrounding area. Activities in the natural world can encourage her curiosity and sense of wonder. They also present great opportunities for parents to emphasize open-ended questions and explorations, rather than supply quick answers.

For kids in elementary school, their world expands rapidly to places beyond their home. They’re still highly impressionable, however, and need a caring, thoughtful parent with whom they can discuss ideas. Their curiosity is reflected in the more perceptive questions they ask and the innovative ideas that draw on their expanding knowledge.

Great thinkers and great inventions come from abundant curiosity. When we encourage children to pursue their questions and apply their critical thinking skills, we help them love learning and grow to be their most curious, best selves.

Which of the following subjects do you most want your child to master?

Parents Talk Back
Which of the following subjects do you most want your child to master?
42% (26 votes)
21% (13 votes)
3% (2 votes)
8% (5 votes)
5% (3 votes)
Music and the arts
13% (8 votes)
A foreign language
8% (5 votes)
Total votes: 62