Open Ended Questions for Kids to Stimulate Thinking and Encourage Curiosity

open ended questions

One of the best things we can do as parents are to mold our children to become problem solvers. Teaching your child how to find answers to simple questions is a great way to stimulate their mind and encourage creativity. It is also a great way to engage them in asking better questions. You may find that your child will ask you much more questions about things that interest him after you’ve asked him a few open ended questions.

As parents, It is important to provide kids with the opportunities to think critically and creatively by asking open ended questions during their early years. Children who are encouraged to think critically and creatively are more likely to be successful in school, social circles, and adulthood challenges. So it is because open ended questions are thought-provoking, engaging, and allow the child to express their true self.

It is important to have open ended questions available for your child to have an outlet for their creative expression. In addition, these kinds of questions will help them develop their reasoning skills and imagination, which are both crucial elements in forming a well-rounded individual. Before starting, however, one must understand what an open ended question is. 

What are Open Ended Questions?

Open ended questions are questions that never have a simple answer and require more than instantaneous response. Open ended questions inspire kids to express themselves and think for themselves. You can ask these kinds of questions to stimulate their critical thinking skills and foster their imagination.

Open ended questions are an excellent way to spark the curiosity and critical thinking skills of kids. By learning to ask open ended questions, your child will be able to research and discover information about themselves and others. In addition, asking these questions will allow your child to find answers on how things work, what they can do, and resources that can help them once they become more mature. It will also allow them to express themselves creatively through writing and drawing.

Close ended questions, on the other hand, are questions that have one or two-word answers. These kinds of questions do not allow your child to build on their thinking process, and they do not promote the ability to ask better questions. Close ended questions are also called “observation” questions or factual” questions.

Examples are:

  • Did you enjoy lunch?
  • Do you like being a little brother?
  • Which TV show is your favorite?
  • Do you have any toys?

However, there are a lot of chances to turn close-ended questions into open-ended questions. Additionally, this step in the process might be an excellent segue as you train yourself to start asking open-ended questions.

For example, you may ask your child:

  • Do you enjoy watching cartoons? Why?
  • What is your favorite animal& why?
  • Why did you decide to draw an elephant?

What’s the Big Deal About Open Ended Questions For Kids?

Asking open ended questions to your child is somewhat similar to interviewing a witness to a crime. When you are interviewing someone, you don’t try to answer; you want them to tell their side of the story. It’s similar to that with open ended questions for kids. You want your child to come up with his conclusions and things he may not have thought about before.

Montessori Academy understands the importance of stimulating children’s thinking and curiosity through the appropriate use of open ended questions. Therefore, asking open-ended questions is one of the academy’s important training strategies for their students. With that in mind, we encourage parents to provide their children with these types of questions. By using open ended questions, you can allow your children to develop their critical-thinking skills and creativity at the same time. 

5 Essential Benefits of Asking Open Ended Questions for Kids

open ended questions

There are several benefits of asking open ended questions for kids. These benefits will help your child become strong thinkers and critical thinkers. They include:

  • Encouraging Open-Mindedness – Asking open ended questions for kids will help them to be more open-minded. With this, they will see things from a different perspective and look at the world from a new perspective, which will help them learn new things about their surroundings and themselves.
  • Encouraging Creativity – Your child will be able to use his creative skills to answer the questions that you ask. In addition, setting boundaries between right and wrong will help him become more creative in solving problems.
  • Encouraging Intellectual Growth – The more your child’s mind is stimulated, the better his intellectual growth. By asking him open ended questions, he will have more mental stimulus, which he can use to grow his brain cells.
  • Encouraging Critical Thinking Skills – Open ended questions will encourage your child to become a critical thinker. Skepticism is a great virtue that will allow him to think for himself and come up with conclusions about things relevant to his life.
  • Encouraging Imagination – Asking open ended questions for kids will encourage your child to use his imagination. Being able to use your imagination is a great skill that will allow your child to develop original and creative ideas.

For open ended questions to be most effective, the parent needs to engage in a conversation with their child. Conversations usually go beyond simple yes or no answers and go deeper into the things that interest your kid. Try something like these open-ended questions to use with kids.

30 Open-Ended Questions to Use with Children

open ended questions

One huge point of asking kids open-ended questions is to collect information.

1. How did that happen?

2. What caused that?

3. What did you like about that?

4. What do you think would happen next?

5. Do you have any ideas…

6. What do you imagine will happen to…

7. What would make it better?

8. What was your favorite part?

9. What do you want to do now?

10. How could we make that better?

11. If you could change one thing about…

12. What are your favorite/least favorite things about this place?

13. What is the silliest thing you have ever done? And why?

14. What would you change about it?

15. How do you know so much about it?

16. Did anything surprise you here? 

17. Could we try something else instead of… 

18. What are your favorite things to do?

19. Which four words describe you best?

20. What do you think about…

21. What would your name be if your name was something else?

22. How does that make you feel? 

23. Do you have a favorite season, food, place, person…

24. What is one thing that makes you feel really good? 

25. What is the funniest thing you have seen in the last week? And why?

26. What is one thing that bugs you? 

27. What makes a good friend/bad friend in your opinion?

28. Why did he say it like that?

29. What is the best thing that has ever happened to you? And why?

30. If I could grant you three wishes, what would they be and why?

Final Thoughts

Try asking these questions when you are having conversations with your child. You can even try writing a few of these on a chalkboard, so you have some prompts when you need them. It can be a fun way to get your child thinking and to talk.

Once you have asked your open ended questions, your child will then answer them with his answers. You will then have to use critical thinking skills to determine whether the answers are true or false. It is important not to tell him what he has said is true or false when doing this. Instead, ask him for other possible outcomes.

Montessori Academy use open ended questions in a variety of ways with all their students. They are an essential training technique for the students to develop their thinking skills and creativity. In addition, we encourage parents to use open ended questions with their kids from an early age to be strong thinkers and critical thinkers as they grow up. Get in touch with us at Montessori Academy today to find out more about the benefits of this practice.


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