Have you ever noticed your child watch a truck driving by or pick up a ladybug? That is an example of how your child develops thinking skills. Young children develop thinking skills—such as understanding cause and effect and developing the ability to reason—by exploring and learning how things fit together. They use their senses to learn, and they also need the support of a caring adult to describe and encourage their exploration and curiosity. As you talk to your child, you are also supporting your child’s ability to learn other languages later in life. Through loving, nurturing relationships, children feel comfortable exploring their environments, deepening their understanding of how the world works.
According to Zerotothree.org, consider these simple strategies to support your child’s curiosity and encourage your child’s discovery:
Stimulate experimentation using items found at home:
• Your child can use pots, lids, or plastic containers and practice putting one inside the other.
• Provide objects that your child can rip or bang in order to explore how they work.
• Remember to include your child’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins during playtime.
Facilitate the development of problem-solving skills and persistence:
• Provide only the necessary help to allow your child to solve difficult tasks. For example, stay close when your child is putting on her shoes but do not take over when you observe her struggling.
• Offer to help, and allow your child to seek your help comfortably when he needs it.
• Encourage your child to keep trying and not give up when she performs a challenging activity or struggles building a tower of blocks.
Encourage imaginary play:
• Offer boxes, old clothing, and everyday objects that you no longer use for your child to practice pretend play with other children.
• Inspire your child to pretend that an old box is a new car to build symbolic thinking.