I was like 5 or 6 when my dad left me at my aunt’s place in a small town in India. I was just playing outside of her house which was along the main road when suddenly I heard something I had never heard before in my life. The deafening siren of a fire engine! My aunt quickly ran out of the house to grab me like a rag doll and bring me into the house. Above the siren I could hear her say how recklessly these fire engine drivers drive with their eyes closed. Upon hearing that my eyes almost popped out. Really? Cool!! I could hear myself saying. From then on I devoted my life to catching a glimpse, whenever possible, of these reckless fire engine drivers who drove at break neck speeds with their eyes closed.

There were not many fires those days and the thought of setting fire to my neighbor’s house did cross my mind occasionally whenever the frustration of waiting indefinitely for the next sighting got to me. Even when I was lucky enough to catch one, they drove past so fast that it was difficult to catch a glimpse of these blind daredevils who had captured my imagination.

In between the months or years between each sighting I would spend entire evenings wondering how these reckless drivers knew where and when to turn if their eyes were closed. And how many people they would have run over on any given day? Is that why there was always an ambulance following close behind? Did they specifically look for blind people for the job or did they blindfold those with sight? Google then was goggle misspelled and didn’t exist so there was no way of finding answers to my questions. Asking my father was not an option as I rated my intellectual capabilities at six years of age to be higher than his. Thus, unsurprisingly, I was in awe for years. What superpowers they must have I thought. What godly talents they possessed!

As with all good things these feelings of bewilderment and fascination came to an abrupt and unceremonious end during one particular English class in secondary school when I learnt that it was just an idiom. My fascination and bewilderment burst like a bubble. I was distraught and momentarily my life lost its meaning. I recovered quickly enough (I am tough like that) but, thinking back, the cocoon of fantasy that such idiocy kept me in was more than worth the many years of ignorance.

That instance when I saw a fire engine for the first time is just one of the many times that my curiosity was ignited during my formative years. Curiosity, which is a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something, creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, laying the groundwork for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy and delight. It all starts with wanting to know more.

At its core, curiosity is all about noticing and being drawn to things we find interesting. It’s about recognizing and seizing the pleasures that novel experiences offer us, and finding novelty and meaning even in experiences that are familiar. When we are curious, we see things differently; we use our powers of observation more fully. We sense what is happening in the present moment, taking note of what is, regardless of what it looked like before or what we might have expected it to be.

Researchers have shown that curiosity positively correlates with intelligence. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2002, researchers correctly predicted that high novelty-seeking (or highly curious) toddlers would have higher IQs as older children than toddlers with lower levels of curiosity. Researchers measured the degree of novelty-seeking behavior in 1,795 3-year-olds and then measured their cognitive ability at age 11. As predicted, the 11-year-olds who had been highly curious 3-year-olds later scored 12 points higher on total IQ compared with low stimulation seekers. They also had superior scholastic and reading ability.

So how do you ignite curiosity in children? The following strategies are some you might like to try.1.Leave time for independent play. Let children play and explore the world on their own terms and resist the urge to guide them at all times. “The answers, in learning and in life, don’t always come right away,” says Kyle Pruett, Ph.D., a Parents advisor and coauthor of Partnership Parenting. “Most kids need your help to develop perseverance.”

  1. Encourage observation. Take a closer look at everyday objects and that will make them seem more intriguing to your child. Look for and point out details she might not otherwise notice, such as the rings in tree stem or the arrangement of leaves on a plant.
  2. Teach your child that mistakes are a part of life. School is a place for learning, but it can also be a place which arouse anxiety in children. Many children worry about being embarrassed in front of their classmates if they don’t know the answer or do something incorrectly. Try to allay this anxiety by acknowledging your own goofs and talking about the times you made mistakes. This sends the message that no one is perfect.
  3. Help him develop a cool hobby. As kids learn more about the world, they often discover a single subject that’s especially intriguing to them. Painting or art may absorb one child, while another might set his sights on robotics. “If a child has a special interest in something, learning becomes exciting,” says Sally Reis, Ph.D., coauthor of Light Up Your Child’s Mind. Do not push your child to pursue something because you like it. Provide him opportunities to find his own things to pursue. Visit the museum or the zoo, go trekking, show him interesting stamps or coins, or point out flowers, birds, rocks, or shells at the beach.
  4. Tolerate messes. Learning isn’t always neat or orderly, and that’s a good thing. Allowing a little messiness into your life (and your child’s) can help foster the kind of free discovery that sparks learning. If possible, provide a space where your child can explore and be creative without doing any damage, such as by putting newspaper on the dining-room table and letting her finger-paint or mold with clay.
  5. Answer all their questions and be their guide. While you want your child to become self-motivated, you’re also his most important teacher. When they ask a question on a certain topic like why the moon changes shape, check out books on the subject, buy a lunar calendar and look for YouTube videos on the topic. As a parent, your mission is to make him aware of the resources that can provide answers, unlock secrets, and further his knowledge.

The greatest advantage of curiosity lies in its power to motivate learning in areas of life and work that are meaningful to the learner. It points students toward the knowledge, skills, relationships, and experiences that they need to live full and productive lives.

At TutoReels, it was our curiosity about we can make learning more engaging that got us to where we are today. Our game changing platform  is the product of many minds and many months of hard work. It allows schools, teachers, and tutors to ignite curiosity and motivate learners to keep learning.