4 (Nearly) Failproof Ways to Nurture a Child’s Natural Motivation
Every child is born with a natural sense of wonder and curiosity.
They have a need to understand the world around them, and explore, experiment and discover without even thinking about it. Just watch what they do with the boxes on Christmas Day, or with sticks, blankets, and whatever else they can get their hands on.
Sure, all of this curiosity can get a little messy, but it’s this intrinsic motivation that is the powerful force behind learning and achievement. It’s what enables children to become learners for life.
But the problem is that this fundamental requirement for learning is sometimes lost as children grow older. Although the world is still full of mysteries, kids often lose the desire to investigate it.
One of the biggest challenges for teachers today is to nurture this natural motivation and ignite the wonder of learning in all of their students. So the big question is: How do you keep the motivation alive?
Fun is serious business for kids. It’s said that play is the universal language of childhood, and it’s true. It’s how children understand each other and make sense of the world around them.
The good news is that children (and adults!) learn best when they’re having fun. Our brains are more active when we’re doing something we enjoy, and we also have a better chance of actually remembering what we learn.
A little mystery is a good thing
As a Wired article so eloquently put it:
Navigate the fine line between giving kids a taste of knowledge – the universe is not all mystery – while at the same time preserving a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty. Because it’s the not knowing – that tang of doubt and possibility – that keeps us playing with the world, eager to figure out how it works.
Let them explore and see the effects of their actions
Children are curious about cause and effect, and will do everything in their power to answer the “hows” and “whys” of the world. They’ll try this action or that, and keep on going until they meet (or get as close as possible to) their goal.
When children can actually see the results of their actions, it’s like having a never-ending reward. They’re more likely to keep exploring, evaluating and learning and to take the initiative to become independent learners.
Let them be active
Physical activity is one of the most natural ways to stimulate curiosity in children. Learning comes naturally when children are thoroughly engaged, and there’s nothing more engaging than play!
Play is all about active bodies and active minds. It brings every part of a child to life and does wonders for their imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities and physical and mental health. And, it actually makes learning easier!
The habits and attitudes formed during childhood last a lifetime, and set the stage for all future learning. That’s why it’s so important to support their motivation while they’re still young!
Are there any activities you’ve done that are a practical application of these ideas?