We often describe people as having a “childlike sense of wonder” – but have you ever stopped to think about what this really means?
Having a sense of wonder means you look at concepts in ways that you previously didn’t think was possible. It means exploring different perspectives, asking lots of questions and not simply accepting things as “fact”.
The sad truth is that, while most of us have this sense of wonder as children, it is usually squashed out of us by the time we reach high-school. We’re told to stop imagining, to stop daydreaming, to stop asking questions and to stop talking to our imaginary friends.
However, a sense of wonder is something you should encourage your child to develop and maintain. It can boost their problem solving skills, by encouraging them to think in new ways, even as they grow older.
So, how can you help your child approach the world with a sense of wonder?
Encourage them to think about things in new ways
Spark a sense of wonder by getting your child to look at their surroundings from new perspectives. Always ask them plenty of questions about why things are the way they are.
A great way to do this is to visit a modern art gallery together and observe a few pieces of abstract art. Ask your child what they think the art depicts and what they think the meaning behind the art is. Once you’ve asked them this, ask them to consider that the art has an entirely different meaning or that depicts something completely different.
Encourage them to think about the same piece of artwork in multiple different ways.
Foster a love of books
Reading is a great way to boost the imagination and develop a sense of wonder. Children’s books are particularly good for this, as they tend to explore new, often far-fetched concepts. Dr Seuss books are fantastic for this, as are books that explore common concepts from a different point of view.
Take up photography together
Grab an old camera (or even your iPhone!) and go exploring together – even if just in your own backyard or around the block. Encourage your child to capture the beauty around you from a different perspective to how they would usually see it. Show them how a run-down old building or an old tree stump can become a beautiful piece of art if captured from a new angle.
Ask the right questions
Always ask your child open-ended questions, even when you’re out and about, running errands, or walking down the road together. Ask questions that encourage your child to use their imagination, like:
- “Why do you think trees have branches?”
- “What if the sky was green?”
- “How do you think the tiny ants on the ground see the world?”
Encourage them to ask lots of questions
Children typically ask a lot of questions and it can become a habit to respond with “don’t ask so many questions!”
Instead, we should be encouraging children to ask questions, as this curiosity is a crucial part of exploring the world with a sense of wonder. Learning is one of the best ways to cultivate a sense of wonder – and, naturally, asking questions is an excellent way to learn.
Ultimately, encouraging your child to hold on to their childlike sense of wonder and their innate curiosity is an excellent way to ensure they grow up to be creative, intelligent adults.
Complete our parent and child art activity together
We’ve put together an art activity for your child and a question guide for you, to get you started with asking the right questions about your child’s art. It’s the perfect rainy day activity and can help you reconnect with your child.
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