Ways to Encourage Curiosity in Toddlers

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.

Chelsea Johnson

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. 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 nine 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!

Chelsea Johnson

2. Read, read, read. Read all kinds of 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)?

Chelsea Johnson

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.

Chelsea Johnson

The Magic Touch Piano™ comes with color-coded music sheets so you can play familiar songs (such as "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.

Chelsea Johnson

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 wonderful way to encourage curiosity in toddlers.

Chelsea Johnson

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 toddlers 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 toddlers a chance to play with things they normally wouldn't (such as 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!

Chelsea Johnson

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 children play in the dirt or help you bake cookies or use finger-paints. 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 its 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!

Chelsea Johnson

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 the child when doing something a little bit differently. Let your toddler wear socks on a hand or use a fork for 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 look 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 Baby Einstein channel while writing this post, and I thought it was a wonderful 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!

Chelsea Johnson


Chelsea Johnson writes the blog Life with My Littles to help other mamas not only survive motherhood, but enjoy it, one day at a time! 

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