"The wind blew it up," my 4-year-old wailed, pointing to his nose. "And I can't get it out!" Tipping the child's smudgy face upwards, I could see nothing. He'll go to college with a stone up his nose, I thought, rushing him to the car.
The kindly pediatrician brought out the truth. "I just wanted to see if it would fit," the child confessed, eyes wide-open, begging.
The shiny instrument bore an unnerving resemblance to my husband's needle-nose pliers. But I exhaled when the doctor retrieved the small stone. "Aha, one for my curiosity collection," he exclaimed, reaching for a round, red-satin-lined container. The doctor dropped the pebble amongst the popcorn kernels, beans, broken twigs, cheerios, pencil eraser, button battery (scary) and baby tooth!
"It's good you brought him in right away. If soft tissue swells around an object, that means surgery," the pediatrician explained. And to my son, whose apprehension had disappeared into the strange collection, he said, "Time to go home."
What? Off-the hook for deliberate misbehavior? Or what is curiosity? Every child is programmed to learn with his five senses from birth. His developmental clock insists that he touch and drop, push and pull, build and knock over, and find out what fits into tiny spaces!
Curiosity drives sensory learning. Not television. Not computers or flashy tech stuff. Not "learning" toys or expensive reading programs. A child's developmental growth is fueled nonstop by play. Play is the birthplace of hands-on learning.
Your child can create his own curiosity collection. Help him search for colors and smells; patterns (feathers, moth wings); textures (tree bark, pine cones, mud); and the mysteries of water. Will it fit? Spill over? Research scientists at play.
A Colorful Thought: "Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of satisfaction." Linus Pauling, Ph.D., recipient of two Nobel Prizes.