Wednesday, August 22, 2018

How to Encourage Curiosity in Children

Is there a budding scientist in your family?  Let's Review some ways to encourage children's curiosity in the world around them.

In our family we try as hard as possible to enkindle a sense of curiosity in our children and grandchildren.  You just never know what exposing them to something they have never thought about might accomplish.  

My other half is a retired Medical Technologist and his fascination with microscopes started when he was about 10 years old.  Swamp water never looked so interesting as it did under the lights and lenses of a simple, yet very good beginner microscope.  

How many of you have seen what a blade of grass looks like under a microscope?  

This picture is taken from Nikon's Small World 2011 Photomicrography Contest.  Dr. Donna Stoltz, University of Pittsburgh


Now that our grandchildren are that age, he has revisited his love for seeing what the naked eyes can't.  He bought himself a new microscope and some slide sets that he plans to introduce to our granddaughters and grandsons.  We do get to spend some time with them when Mom and Dad are out of town.  It's the perfect opportunity to broaden their horizons and spend some quality time with them too.  



There are endless things that children can put under the lens and get a real up close look.  Flower petals, pollens, cat or dog hairs, these are all things that children can see under the microscope.  The amazing thing is that what they see through the lens is nothing at all like what they see with the naked eye.  It takes "seeing" something to a whole new level.  

Children are endlessly fascinated by the things around them and sometimes if you catch them at a point where they are looking for something different, you just might trigger the button for them to learn more and see differently.  


The future of our planet will be in the hands of our children, and we will need some of those children to take an interest in seeing the world from the Macro and the Micro phases.  Maybe one of them will be your child or grandchild. 





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10 comments:

  1. What an excellent idea for kids! I love toys that encourage learning. Microscopes allow children to believe they are playing, when actually they are being educated.

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    1. Thank you Miss Sylvestermouse, when play can be educational it is worth it's weight in gold. Children are so adaptable and love anything "out of the ordinary", at least in my experience. It helps to have adults that are also fascinated by the unusual.

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  2. My son loved his microscope when he was a youngster. At the time my sister-in-law was a cytotechnologist and she sent him some actual slides she had put together to examine. He was thrilled with getting 'real' slides from a real lab. :) I agree that toys like this encourage curiosity in real-life occupations. One never knows what will spark a life-long interest.

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  3. Oh Miss Elf, my husband still has all the slides that he processed when he was a student many, many years ago. He can still recall the type of slide (skin, lung, liver, etc.) and the stains used to make them look so surreal. The kids are in for a whole lot of fun when we get the chance to be with them again. Yes, many a budding scientist, biologist, doctor or other has been encouraged by an interest sparked by someone they know.

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  4. That brings back memories! I had a microscope with prepared slides when I was young. I'll have to keep this gift idea in mind as my grands become older.

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  5. Yes Dawn, they do need to be a certain age to understand what they are seeing and to ask questions about what is a good subject. I would say around the age of 10 is a great age. Younger than that and they don't yet have the concentration needed. But it certainly is a fun gift to share with them.

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  6. Just seeing what you are writing about made me happy. I love sharing the curious world of a kid. Adults forget how to play. Kids have as much to teach us as we do to teach them.

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    1. I so agree with you Rose. Children have a natural ability to want to see what's there and more. When the microscope comes out the grandchildren are at his knees waiting to see what he's brought to show them and then he sends them outside to look for little things to slip in there. It's amazing what they find.

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  7. I remember getting my first microscope as a kid, I loved seeing what things looked like under it. You've tweaked my memory and this would make an excellent gift for the grands. Can't believe I didn't think about it before. Thank you!

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    1. You are welcome Barbara, sometimes the things we loved the best are still available for sharing and showing our grandchildren things that they did not know. It's fun and the kids are amazed at what they see. It makes them look at the world in a whole different way.

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