Do your daughter's eyes get wide when she sees a firefly at night? Does your son grab your attention when he sees a cool leaf on the sidewalk? Childlike wonder is an amazing thing. You want to encourage your children to be curious and learn new things all the time. Expose your kids to new experiences, and ignite their passion with the following ideas:
Travel Somewhere New
Looking for a change in scenery? Pack your bags, grab your kids and head out on the road. Traveling opens your children's minds to think about how different people live across the country and the world. They can learn at historical sites and eat new foods and hear different languages in other countries.
Visiting these places may lead to an interest in a career overseas, studying anthropology, working as an ambassador or becoming a chef. If an international destination isn't in the budget, become a tourist in your hometown. For example, New Jersey has day excursions to go zip lining, take a ferry ride or visit the railroad.
Do your kids love to dig in the dirt or let sand run through their fingers? What are you waiting for? Slip on a pair of shorts and head outdoors to explore your neighborhood or hike a local trail. Or, set up a tent in your backyard and do an overnight camping activity where you and your children look up at the stars. Who knows? This one night out may create an interest in space and astronomy. Explore camping grounds within New Jersey for a weekend trip to teach your kids about fishing, kayaking and cooking outdoors.
An afternoon at the museum is a great way for your children to learn about history and art. Many museums offer interactive displays where kids can draw and paint or where they can touch and play with the exhibit.
If your kids are more into movies and playing dress up, take them to a Broadway play. Online ticketing sites make it easy to find the right show for your kids' personalities and to buy tickets ahead of time. If your daughter already loves to sing and dance and your son loves putting on performances for the family, a play can show them it is possible to become an actor, costume designer or makeup artist when they are grown up.
Learn to Play an Instrument
Do your kids love making up songs and banging on your pots and pans? This might be your cue to enroll them in music lessons. Playing a musical instrument teaches your children about the importance of practice and hard work. Learning how to read music and stay on the beat can help them with basic math lessons, and listening to different kinds of music can help them understand other cultures. This music experience may lead to a career as a teacher, musician or a conductor of a symphony.
Want your children to give back to the community? Emphasize the value of volunteering. Taking on a project at a homeless shelter or serving food in a soup kitchen shows your kids the importance of helping others. Have your children pick a cause and donate time or money to it. Active volunteering teaches children gratitude, which is an important quality that carries over into adulthood.
It might not always be possible to take a trip or head outdoors, but it doesn't mean you can't help your children find their passion. By encouraging your kids to read, they learn about different kinds of people who have different jobs and love doing different things. They can learn about other places and cultures and feel less alone. Many schools and libraries have readings programs to help kids become better readers and enjoy the experience.