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5 Ways to Teach Kids to be Curious this Summer

It’s so important for students to maintain their innate curiosity as they get older and progress through the school system. Being curious and imaginative are two great qualities that younger children generally have without any prompting. We are born curious and want to know about the world. In some cases, older students become less curious as time goes by because they are focused on the tasks in front of them. Summer is an excellent time for elementary school students to maintain or reignite the curiosity that encourages them to ask why things are a certain way or explore their environment. Asking why can lead to advanced problem solving later in life and can help students both academically and socially. So how can kids be encouraged to stay curious this summer?

Explore the outdoor environment
Kids spend most of their time inside a classroom, where learning is convenient and easy to organize. During the summer, it’s great if kids have the opportunity to explore their outdoor environment. Being part of a natural habitat can make young students think about why things exist in one way or another. For instance, why do certain birds only chirp at night? Why does the grass turn brown in the California summer? These are very simple questions but important ones that might have relatively complicated answers. Kids who get a chance to spend some time outdoors are more likely to think of these questions on their own and seek an answer from a teacher or parent.

Hands-on Learning
Participating in hands-on learning is another great way for kids to explore their imagination during the summer months. When kids get to touch and feel something, they have a better understanding of how it works. For example, perhaps a young student can take apart an old computer system that is no longer being used and view the chip inside. In a way, a computer chip is like the brain of the computer, and this can spark a student’s curiosity to think about the relationships between humans and the machines we build. Hands-on learning opportunities are endless but are best done when supervised in an organized camp environment or by a parent.

One thing at a time
Students become great at multitasking early on because it allows them to finish their tasks in a timely manner and enjoy some free time in the late afternoon. However, summer provides a nice break from multitasking and can allow children to focus on just one thing at a time. When kids can give one task their full attention, they are more likely to take the time to think about the intricacies of the particular situation rather than rush to finish and move on. Fun and educational activities can include baking brownies with a parent, building a tree house with a friend, or building a science experiment recommended by the classroom teacher. Lots of fun summer activities have an academic and social value that may not be obvious at first.

Different cultures and experiences
When kids get a chance to experience a different culture, they are likely to have a lot of questions. Southern California is a relatively diverse area where young kids can learn about all different sorts of cultural activities including arts, food, fashion, and language. Having these different experiences will open up a young student’s mind to a whole new world of questions and answers that will help them ask why and reignite their curiosity in life.

New friends
Summer is also an ideal time for students to make new friends. When kids attend camp, they are likely to meet somebody who has a similar interest or who lives in their area but who they may not have met in school. Spending time with new friends and getting to know about their hobbies, likes and dislikes, and educational experiences can help kids broaden their horizons while also working on socialization. Many children attend several different camps that are only one week long so they can meet all sorts of different people and learn about their background, culture, or general experiences.

Robyn Scott is a private English tutor at TutorNerds. She attended the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and the University of Southampton in England as a graduate student. She has worked with students from the United States, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and Africa.

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