Curiosity naturally involves testing and refining mental models. When creating our entrepreneurial learning programs, we focus on crafting lessons that cultivate curiosity and reward it, not with prizes but with learning that is so fun it seems like play.
I think one reason many adults subtly discourage curiosity is that from time to time, it can look like mischief. For example, one mother I know took her 9-year-old daughter to a museum exhibit called Androids and Aliens. It was kid-friendly, and her daughter Jessie was having a great time. An interactive element in the exhibit allowed kids to create their own little parachutes to see if an airstream would lift their designs out of a Plexiglas tube.
After an hour of this, Jessie’s curiosity took hold. She cut a piece of paper into tiny bits and shoved them into the launch opening and voilà! The entire room was blasted with her confetti, which drifted down over the children to their delight.
Other kids started creating their own confetti showers. Within a few minutes it had become a “situation.” The mother slipped out of the exhibit, Jessie in tow, just in time to avoid the museum staff who had come to shut it down.
When children’s eyes glitter with the mischief of discovery, stand back and take note. They may be on the brink of an entrepreneurial idea. A blower that lets kids cut up paper to create confetti showers, enough to fill a room? Yes! What other uses could this have? Can this be a moment where your child begins their journey towards mechanical engineering? Towards creating technology-enabled art?
In order for entrepreneurial learning to take place, we must create an encouraging environment for children to explore where their curiosity leads. There are no penalties, no criticism, and no embarrassment. There are no right or wrong answers, only question that feeds a curiosity cycle and yield new discoveries.
Want to practice curiosity at home? Check out our free activities!