The future belongs to the curious—children who pick up a pair of drumsticks and start banging away, kids who ask a million questions like How do the stars get up in the sky? and Why do I have a belly button? New and exciting art, music, and technology will emerge because of curious kids who become successful adults. Kids who are curious ask questions, which leads them to search for answers. Finding answers gives them confidence and today’s confident kids equal tomorrow’s leaders.

But how can we encourage curiosity in our children? Here are four major things you can do.

4 Ways Parents Can Cultivate Curiosity

1. Read!

Reading is one of the most important things you can do with your child. Reading helps develop imperative cognitive skills, builds vocabulary, and increases fluency. Through reading, children learn how to infer, predict, and visualize. Aside from the intellectual benefits of reading, children who read develop incredible imaginations!

You can cultivate curiosity in your children by reading to them when they are small and by reading with them when they are bigger. Ask questions as you read like, “What do you think will happen next? What would you do if you were that character? Let’s make up a new ending to the book.” 

2. Provide toys that stimulate curiosity.

Although society is getting more high-tech by the minute, screens and buttons are not necessarily better when it comes to a child’s development. Many toys on the market come with fancy technology, but they are all game directed, meaning the child just sits back and lets the game do all the thinking. 

Instead, look for toys that encourage curiosity and creativity—toys that allow the child to direct the game rather than the other way around. I love Baby Einstein toys because they encourage curiosity through interesting patterns and bold colors. They allow the child to direct play, to explore, and to ignite curiosity. Babies are especially curious beings!

This new play mat is baby Kennedy’s favorite toy. Her little eyes are enamored with all the interesting colors and patterns. And big sister loves making animal sounds for her while she’s having tummy time. (You should hear her giraffe sound!)

Gifting Baby Einstein toys to friends and family members is great because each one ignites curiosity and creativity.

3. Encourage questions.

Gone are the days when kids should be seen and not heard. It is in the very nature of children to ask questions. Curiosity is built in them! Instead of brushing them off, encourage those questions. Take a second to really answer your child’s questions in earnest.

Sylvia Earle, an American marine biologist and National Geographic explorer once said, “The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask questions and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when, and how!’ They never stop asking questions, and I never stop asking questions, just like a five year old.”

Asking questions and getting answers is how we grow.

4. Talk about the world around you.

Wherever you are, talk about the world around you. Talk about different places and people and ideas. Create a sense of wonder for nature. Stop and look closely at the patterns on a butterfly or an ant carrying a crumb. Explore your backyard or a mountain trail. Take a walk on the beach and bend down to examine a sand dollar. Marvel at the wonders of the world with your child. Talk about how a rainbow is made and why some animals only come out at night time.

There are so many incredibly fascinating things in this world that you can help your child discover and even rediscover yourself.

The future truly does belong to the curious. Allow a child’s curiosity to flower and you just may find your inner kid as well.