Health Library

 

Preschoolers: Helping Your Child Explore

Topic Overview

Preschool children are driven to explore their world. This curiosity is the basis for learning, now and throughout their lives. Children at play are little scientists. They answer for themselves basic questions about how the world works, whether they are playing with sand or water, sculpting with clay or painting, or climbing on playground equipment.

Learning that comes from exploration is more appropriate for preschool children than the mastery of letters or numbers that might come from more passive kinds of learning, such as watching educational television. By exploring and playing, these children start to understand cause and effect and how this concept relates to their actions.

Children who have many chances to explore develop a healthy sense of competence as they master new skills and solve problems on their own. For example, young children often feel proud of wiping up their own spills. Be sure to engage with your child during activities. Praise the child's effort and do not worry about the result or outcomes of projects. Give the child many different things to play with, from games to building toys to puzzles and books. Encourage building and art projects.

Parents are often tempted to put limits on exploration, both for safety reasons and for their own convenience. Resist this temptation to limit your child's natural curiosity. For example, accept that finger paints will require some time and effort for preparation and clean-up. Show a child how to wipe up any messes and explain why spills need to be wiped up right away.

If you find that you are often limiting your child's play for safety reasons, think about how you can make your home and yard safer. Then you can allow your child to be more free to explore without danger. For more information, see the topic Health and Safety, Ages 2 to 5.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last Revised February 22, 2013

Last Revised: February 22, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

First Nurse

First Nurse

Call First Nurse 24 Hours a Day for free health care advice, resources and referrals!

Ames: 515-239-6877
In Iowa: 800-524-6877 

Search health information online in our Mulimedia Health Library.

High Quality Care

Guardian of Excellence

Mary Greeley consistently delivers high quality patient care.

  • 2013 Guardian of Excellence Award for Clinical Quality
  • Grade 'A' Patient Safety from the Leapfrog Group
  • 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures ranking from The Joint Commission
  • Highest percentage bonus of any Iowa hospital in Medicare's quality incentive program

Mary Greeley on Facebook

Like us on Facebook

Patient Privacy | Net Learning for Employees | MGMC PACS for Physicians
Emergency Preparedness

1111 Duff Avenue Ames, IA 50010 - 515-239-2011 - yourhealth.mgmc@mgmc.com

©2014 Mary Greeley Medical Center - All rights reserved.