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Encourage Your Kids to Explore, Discover, Experiment and be Creative

September 27, 2010
13 Comments

Do you remember what it feels like to sit on the ground and put your hands in the sand? Or how it feels when you swing as high as you can and look into the sky? How about what it feels like to imagine yourself as part of a pirate or mermaid adventure – to feel like you really are in a far away land?

Many adults seem to have lost that special gift. A child can imagine great worlds and to be able to pretend that they’re a part of them. Kids get excited about digging for dinosaur bones and exploring a far away jungle, even if they are actually just in the backyard. And whether your child is pretending or exploring their world, they are also learning and growing along the way.

Yet, too often kids do not get to experience the wonder of the world around them. Instead, they are bombarded with television shows or commercialized TV characters. As parents we have an opportunity to encourage and develop our children’s sense of wonderment and curiosity.

Math and science were not my strongest subjects growing up and, because of that, I try to introduce simple and fun math and science experiences for my children. I am also aware that American kids are not excelling in science and math compared to the rest of the world and I think it is important to introduce our kids to the fun of science, math, art, and music.

After my kids had done a few science experiments, created a fun science potion, and made an invention, my kids began begging me to do a science experiment or invention regularly.

Ways to Keep the Magic Alive

  • Make Up an Adventure – A Pirate or Mermaid Adventure are favorites
  • Play Fun, Silly Music and Other Types of Music (Classical, Jazz, etc)
  • Let Your Kids Play Pretend and Dress Up (Even boys play dress up-heroes, firemen, etc)
  • Tell them Stories and Let Them Tell You Stories About a Subject They Enjoy

    Ways to Encourage Your Children to be Life Long Learners and Develop a Love for Science, Math and the Arts
  • Give Kids Time to Explore Their World
  • Buy Them Fun, Educational Gifts- Microscope, Telescope, Science Kit, Instrument, Art Supplies
  • Take Your Kids to Children’s Museums, Art and History Museums
  • Take Your Kids to Musical or Theatrical Productions designed for young children.
  • Encourage Play with Toys that let kids Build Structures and Other Creative Things
  • Make Art and Creative Playthings Available (paint, markers, play dough, clay)
  • Let them Take a Class in something they are interested in (Art, Sport, Music, Airplanes)
  • Encourage Creative Play and Simple Fun

I want my kids to love to learn. I want them to have a thirst for knowledge and to know they can learn to do anything they set their minds to.

I want my kids to discover their world and keep discovering it. I want them to know there will always be something new for them to uncover in this world – a place, a skill, book, or an activity.

If you want this for your child, encourage and nurture their creativity, imagination, and exploration. Foster their curiosity by providing fun and educational toys, books and experiences they can learn from.

For more ideas about encouraging your kids to use their imagination, experiments and exploration visit http://www.ziggityzoom.com for more activities and articles.

Kristin Fitch is a parenting expert, author, educator, and mom of three beautiful boys. She is also the CEO of Ziggity Zoom, LLC which hosts several crafting, parenting and activity sites including www.Mommie911.com, www.ZiggityZoom.com, www.ZiggitsAwards.com, www.CuriousBaby.com, www.GrandParentsDigest.com and is a columnist for www.HamptonRoadsParents.com.

Her book, “Parenting without a Paddle: Navigating the Waters of Parenthood” will be available soon. You can email Kristin at kristin@ziggityzoom.com.

13 Comments

Great stuff.

Here is a fun way to encourage your child to explore words and writing. It's excerpted from our blog at blog.knowledgepointslearning.com. Enjoy!

Mathematician Alfred North Whitehead once observed that "romance precedes precision." If you can get your child to fall in love with writing, then he's more likely to develop precision on his own...

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I couldn't agree more! I always wonder...Why don't adults allow themselves the chance to continue doing exactly what we encourage our kids to do? I write about this concept (ideas to change from: just “getting through life each day” to “wanting to get up to play some unusual, eccentric creation of a goal/game you’ve created for yourself) and encourage adults to try to find treasures, adventures, glimpses of silliness in their everyday life! I try to jump in and tackle or explore everything as a child would and my days are really fun! Parents should try a few of these things; creating games and making up silly goals make the daily "to-do-list-life" a lot more entertaining. Great article! Debbie Markham, www.functionablyhappy.com (my blog site)

I love this article. It really reflects our family's approach to life. My husband and I both love to explore and learn. For us, getting out of the house and into the natural world is key. Our son rarely watches TV, not because we ban it, but because we get outside a lot and that is now much more interesting for him than sitting around in front of the TV or playing video games.

I agree 100%. Children should be encouraged to explore and discover. I have 2 8 year olds, and my sister was astonished that we do not hve a gaming system. I prefer they play actual games- board games, puzzles, hide-and-seek, etc.

I also believe that adults need the same encouragement. Now that my mother has retired she doesn't know what to do. She's forgotten how to get out and enjoy herself.

What an excellent and inspiring piece. So many great ideas and resources. Kids need time to wonder, explore, discover, and learn. Learning best happens when it is fun, and a product of the child's own curiosity and enthusiasm. Kids need LOTS of time to do all of these things. It's the essence of home schooling, really. Giving our kids this time to do everything talked about here, is a big reason why we do...

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This is the whole premise behind Discovery Toys...you've hit the nail on the head! In my blog I wrote about how our teens rank in math and science compared with other countries: http://billiediscoverytoys.blogspot.com/2009/07/185-milli...
You, too, can make play time into learning time with high-quality educational toys. Read more at www.toysofdiscovery.com

For adults that were not given the chance to learn as children themselves it is hard to pass this on to the next generation...

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I totally agree! Our children do watch too much TV & spend way too much time playing video games! Unfortunately, when my daughter was 2 she was in the hospital with a heart transplant and about all she could do was watch videos. She actually learned her ABCs from Elmos World! Don't worry - we've cut down a lot! I'm not going to lie though, I do let her at 5 years old watch TV after school - but I think it matters a lot what you let them watch...

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I agree that our kids benefit greatly from many of the suggestions in this post and that is why I am frustrated. I am not homeschooling my children and I find that the frenzied pace required to keep up with school and homework leaves no space for the relaxed imaginative play that kids benefit from. As well, school seems to have lost appreciation for the holistic development of children. Instead of valuing play, good rest, imagination, and the arts, everything feels very reductionistic...

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I just wanted to add that it seems in this country, kids are over-scheduled and that is why they don't get to explore the world around them. It seems that my kids are the only ones that don't have an after-school activity every day of the week including weekends. When I hear my friends tell me that their kids have , chess on Saturdays, football on Sundays, Karate on Mondays and Soccer on Tuesdays, swimming on Wednesdays and so on, I get overwhelmed just hearing about it...

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After a family camping trip at Silver Falls early this summer, my 3 year old son has been fascinated with waterfalls and fountains. We take trips to downtown Portland, where there are fountains aplenty. This summer, we did a 'fountain study', visiting our favorite fountains, talking about "where the water comes out" and where it lands/pools. He's very intrigued by pumps, enthralled when he sees fountains drained and being maintained...

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This is awesome!!! Learning should be fun for children and the more fun they have the more it will encourage their ability to want to learn. The world is full of so many wonders for a child to discover. What I love about being a parent is that it will help me discover my own youth and imagination again.

Love it! This is such a critical piece of child development that is missing from too many homes. The average preschooler spends 32 hours a week in front of a screen...crazy! My two favorite websites to help change this is www.toyladyjanet.com and www.commercialfreechildhood.org.

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