Exploring different subjects and activities is an important part of discovering strengths and interests – your child can’t find a talent for swimming if they never get in the water! These four tips will show you how to create lots of opportunities for exploration, without breaking the bank.
The children’s section is great, but there’s plenty more to explore in the rest of the library. Next time you take your child to the library, go to a random section, pull out a few colourful books, and let your child browse them at their leisure. They could be looking at South America one week, impressionist paintings the next, followed by beetles, the Beatles, and Bedouins – now that’s real exploration!
Museums and galleries
Places with changing exhibitions are a great resource for exposing your child to new subjects and activities, often at little or no cost. Let your child decide what to look at in the exhibition, whether they want to do any ‘child activities’, and how long you stay. That way they’re more likely to be interested, and to want to see another exhibition next time. (If you want to able to see the exhibition at your own pace, try to go back another day without your child.)
Children can easily spend days watching videos about a single subject, but the internet can also be a great way to explore new interests and skills. Challenge your child to find an interesting video or website about a new topic – something they’ve been reading about, a skill they’ve wanted to learn, or something beginning with the first letter you think of. Then give them a new challenge tomorrow or next week – how about the gold rush, or the lunar new year, or how to shuffle cards like a pro?
Sports, music, art and other activities
Formal activities are a great way for your child to explore their strengths and interests, but it’s easy to get overcommitted. So before you enrol them in a sport, music lessons, dance classes or an art program, look for ways to let your child see what it’s going to be like, and maybe have a try, such as:
- watching a soccer training session
- going to a student piano concert, or a recital by a professional pianist
- watching a performance at the hip hop dance school
- doing pottery classes in the school holidays
- holding their birthday party at the golf driving range.
Encourage your child to try different things, and enjoy finding out what they enjoy, and what they are good at. Some interests may last only a short time, but others may become passions, and even form the basis of their future career!