I love children’s curiosity! LOVE it! I’ve learned so many interesting things because I was mother to a curious child. It really started with earth moving equipment. We watched them at work every chance we could get. We collected a small set of working models with moving scoops and crawler tracks that worked in sand, corn meal, and loose dirt. We read about bulldozers, bobcats, excavators, and backhoes, and called each one by its proper name from then on. As recently as a few years ago, when we watched an excavator dig out a large section of Lake Michigan for at least half an hour, I don’t know if I was more mesmerized by the process or touched by the tradition of watching together once again.
Trains were only interesting as they related to crashing the various “Thomas the Tank Engine” characters into each other on the clickety clack track. But then came DINOSAURS.
We learned which were meat eaters, who lived in the various periods, who had bird hips, and so much, much more. Willing to research, talk about, and play together for the many YEARS of this deep interest, we continued to grow close. And each new discovery in the world these days adds to the bank of knowledge we began in the preschool years.
Later, he would patiently teach me to play Mario Kart: Double Dash on the Game Cube and we would have hours/weeks/months/years of fun playing together. Still do!
Now, Christopher is an adult who still loves learning. Among his new passions are cooking, personal training, and travel. He doesn’t have “pasta” for supper, he prepares linguine, fusilli, farfalle. He doesn’t follow each new training fad; he reads, records, and resets. When it’s time for a trip, he learns about destinations and plans carefully in order to get the full experience of each new place. What started as interest wading in the water looking for bugs and watching birds in our yard will soon become a full-time career as an expedition guide and ornithologist.
Playtime can become a lifelong passion so easily. And lifelong learning can open doors of discovery every day. Take children’s interests seriously, pay attention to what they’re paying attention to, use the proper terminology so they learn to be precise — show them that respect — and watch them find delight experiencing and sharing new knowledge as they grow.