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March 2019

Cultivating Curiosity in Kids Is Key for Academic Success

If Curious George were a kid instead of a monkey, there’s a very good chance he’d be a stellar student. That’s because curiosity is linked to academic achievement among kindergarteners, new research shows. 

Father on a couch, reading a book with his son

Researchers found that kids who were very curious had stronger reading and math skills. 

As a parent, you’ve probably discovered that young children are naturally very curious. Seeking out ways to foster their creativity can help them strengthen this skill, which may pay off in school later. Here’s how to do just that.

  1. Follow their interests. Kids’ curiosity takes off when they’re engaged in activities that they enjoy doing. Observe your child and discover what he or she loves to do. Is it playing with toy cars? Exploring outside? Playing dress-up? Finger painting? Offer plenty of opportunities for your child to experience activities that are meaningful.

  2. Limit screen time. For children ages 2 and older, limit screen time to no more than one hour per day. Giving children plenty of time for unstructured, unplugged play will help stimulate their creativity.

  3. Read with your child. Books are a wonderful way to engage your child’s imagination and curiosity. When reading with your child, respond to his or her questions and comments. Ask your child about the pictures and the story you’re reading.

  4. Keep art supplies handy. Art can give kids an opportunity to naturally express themselves. Keep simple supplies—such as paper, crayons, markers, and tape—available so they can sit down and use them any time they like. 

When it comes to supporting your child’s curiosity, the most important thing you can do is pay attention to what gets your son or daughter excited about playing and learning. For example, if your child is curious about dinosaurs, borrow a stack of dinosaur books from the library. Offering opportunities for children to explore, discover, and learn is the best way to engage their curiosity every single day.


Ready, set, play!

Play is a great way to stimulate your child’s curiosity and creativity. Here are some playful learning activities from the American Academy of Pediatrics that you can do with your kids.

Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/28/2018
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