“Where does the sun go at night? What do clouds taste like? Why do spiders spin webs?”
These are BIG questions for little minds. You see, children are born with a sense of wonder and an instinct for what is beautiful. They are naturally curious and captivated by the world and all the things in it. Some of the most beautiful things in life happen around us every day, as though the world is magic!
Taking the time to wonder with little ones, to notice the small things, is important in those early years - when “why?” is a favourite question to ask.
The art of noticing the small things not only nurtures a sense of wonderment and awe, but it helps build vocabulary as your child finds and practises descriptive words. It also builds creative thinking and problem solving. This is your child starting to make sense of the world around them.
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful,
full of wonder and excitement … “
You can help build wonder when sharing books too. Books can invite lots of questions! As you read, wonder why, how, when, what and where? Talk about your own experiences and memories as you explore the story and make sense of the pictures together. This extends the story and builds connections to real life, and it strengthens the bond between you and your child.
Make sure you give your little one time to respond in their own words. Open-ended questions like, “What do you think might happen next?” or “How do you think this made him feel?” encourages children to respond in detail through using their feelings and attitudes. Drawing your child into meaningful, responsive and intentional conversation gives their language development a boost along with their creative thinking as they try to understand how the world works.
Limited-worded picture books are a great opportunity to share the story through the pictures. You can wonder together about what the book is about by looking at its cover and endpapers. Remember, the way you share stories is just as important as how often you read to your child. Take a picture walk sometimes with different books instead of reading the words, and be inspired by the creatures of the deep, the tiniest of insects, the way the clouds float, the tallest of buildings, the colours in the garden, all the different sounds that birds make – you can find wonder in almost anything, anywhere!
Take wonderment outside with your little one, read under a tree and take in all the sounds around you. Poke about in the garden - what can you find to marvel at? Doing simple things together, even chores, can unlock questions that may otherwise have gone unasked.
Here are some wonder-building questions you could ask your little one:
- I wonder why stars twinkle?
- I wonder where the sun goes at night?
- I wonder why the sea is salty?
- I wonder why spiders spin webs?
- I wonder what clouds taste like?
- I wonder if my toys miss me when I’m not there?
- I wonder if this lizard has a mummy or a daddy?
- I wonder why leaves fall off trees?
- I wonder if animals talk to each other?
- I wonder what would happen if we …
- I wonder how this works?
Lift-the-flap books and Usborne’s range of 'Questions and Answers' books are the perfect companions to build wonder. Check your local library’s collection.