When you think about the activities your child does through a typical day, what comes to mind? Playing, talking, eating, sleeping, running, jumping, making messes, cleaning, watching television, reading, etc. I could keep going, but you get the picture. What about questioning? How many questions do you answer in a day for them? What type of questions do they ask?
Now let’s flip that around. How many questions do you ask them in a day? What type of questions do you ask? Remember this post? Children should hear 30,000 words in a day. Asking questions is a great way to get them talking to you and a great way to get them thinking. But when you ask a question, think about the way you phrase it. What is the difference between asking “How many clouds can you count in the sky?” versus “What does that cloud look like?”
While both questions are great conversation starters, the second gets them using their creativity. We could even ask them “How did those clouds get up into the sky?” We want children at a young age to start thinking creatively. This helps build their critical thinking skills. These skills are essential to their learning as they get older. Check out this article from Scholastic.
So when you start asking questions, think of open-ended questions. These are the kind that don’t have one specific answer. Books are a great way to start conversations. Ask what the main idea is, what is happening on a page, what was the author thinking when they wrote the story, etc. Visit the library for ideas on books that make great conversation starters.