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11 Summertime Scenarios to Help Develop Your Child’s Curiosity

Questions, Questions Everywhere: 11 Scenarios  You Can Use to Enhance Your Child’s Curiosity This Summer
Victoria Ryan O’Toole shares curiosity-enhancing questions you can ask your children during 11 common summer scenarios.


Kids swimming

Kids swiming

Los Angeles, CA (June 2013)—If you’re a parent, you know that children are naturally curious. Youngsters ask question after question about every conceivable topic (plus a few you’ve never thought of before). And even before they can talk, children actively explore the world around them through all five senses.

Unfortunately for many children, as they grow, their curiosity is dulled instead of sharpened. They become dependent on outside influences—TVs, computers, video games, their parents, etc.—to keep them engaged and entertained, and they no longer show a strong desire to independently seek out answers and knowledge.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. As a parent, there’s a lot you can do to enhance your child’s curiosity—and according to Victoria Ryan O’Toole, summer is the perfect time to help kids develop an active interest in the fascinating world around them.

“Not only should you gladly answer your children’s 10 million questions, you should teach them to ask more,” says O’Toole, creator of the Molly Moccasins story, game, and activity book series for children ( “The fact that school’s out doesn’t mean that learning has to stop. In fact, over the next few months, asking questions and developing a healthy imagination can be more fun than ever.”

According to O’Toole, helping your children strengthen their “curiosity muscles” is a wonderful gift because it enables them to continually learn, grow, and question the world they live in and sets them up for a successful future.

“The truth is, curiosity and creativity are some of the most valuable skills young people can have as they prepare to enter the global economy,” she comments. “As professionals, they’ll have to innovate on the go, think of better ways to solve old problems, create time- and money-saving solutions, and much more—and right now during childhood is when parents have the power to create that foundation.”

Enter Molly Moccasins. O’Toole created her popular series, which features a bright, imaginative, and curious character named Molly, to inspire young readers to find meaning, knowledge, and adventure in everyday life. As they follow Molly on her almost 70 story adventures through backyards, museums, farms, libraries, forests, and (much!) more, kids will learn how to ask new questions, observe new things, and develop an increased curiosity about the world around them.

This year, O’Toole urges parents not to let their children spend the long, sunny days of summer in front of a television or computer screen. Instead, help them to follow in Molly’s footsteps by letting their curiosity lead them out the door and into adventure. Once you begin to help your kids “see” all of the interesting questions that can be found in everyday life, they’ll soon begin to ask them naturally.

Here, O’Toole shares curiosity-enhancing questions you might ask and explore with your child during 11 common summer scenarios, as well as a few Molly Moccasins titles that complement each activity.


• How long does it take a flower to grow?

• What does a plant need to grow?

• What can you use plants for? (While they’re pretty to look at, many can be used as food or even medicine.)

• Why do plants have roots?

• What do worms, bees, and other insects do in a garden?

• How many different types of plants are in your backyard or favorite park?

Related stories: The Garden, Busy Bees

Fishing/visiting an aquarium.

• What do fish eat?

• Why do they live in the water?

• How do they breathe underwater?

• Can all fish live in the same type of water?

• What kind of gear do you need to go fishing?

• What is the largest fish in the world? The smallest?

Related stories: Water Is Amazing, If I Were A…


• What’s the tallest mountain? How tall is it?

• What kinds of animals live in the woods?

• Why is it harder to breathe the higher you go?

• What is the longest hiking trail in the world and how long does it take to complete?

• What items are good to have with you on a hike?

Related stories: Leaf Me Alone, Species Spotting, Wonders of the World, The Compass


• What are the different swimming strokes?

• How deep is the deep end of the pool? The shallow end?

• How much does one gallon of water weigh?

• What animals or other creatures can swim?

• What creatures live and swim in salt water (like the ocean), and which ones live or swim in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds?

• What is the safest position to be in if you’re in the water?

• Can you create a new species that can live in water? How would this creature breathe? What would it look like? How would it eat? How would it defend itself?

Related stories: Water Is Amazing, If I Were A…

Collecting bugs.

• What bugs come out at night?

• Why do we need bugs?

• How many bugs can you name?

• What animals or creatures eat bugs?

• Name or invent a bug you would like to meet!

Related stories: Good Morning, Nature, Neighbors, Camouflage, Busy Bees

Baking and making s’mores.

• Why do cakes rise?

• What do “tbsp” and “tsp” stand for?

• Why is it important to use the correct measurements in the recipe?

• What do you need to make s’mores?

• How do you make s’mores?

• What makes the chocolate melt?

• What does sugar do in your body and where does it go?

Related stories: Berry Delicious Day, Body Language


• What can you use to build a tent?

• What does a tent protect you from?

• Where do people usually camp?

• What do you need to bring with you when camping?

• Can you imagine or create a space to camp in? (Use white sheets to get the feeling of being in the Arctic, or find the fluffiest pillows in your house to help you imagine that you are floating among the clouds!)

Related stories: Backpacking in the Backyard, Leaf Me Alone, The Compass

Setting up a lemonade stand.

• How do you make lemonade?

• What do we need for the stand? (Poster, chairs, cups, money jar, table, etc.)

• How much does one cup cost?

• If you sell “X” cups, how much money will you make?

• How will you attract the attention of lemonade drinkers? (Ideas include dressing in a costume or making a great sign!)

• How many other flavors of lemonade (like lime-ade, orange-ade, strawberry-ade, or mango-ade) can you think of? If you make these flavors, see which one is most popular and try to figure out why.

Related stories: The Garden, Berry Delicious Day

Looking at clouds and stargazing.

• What are the different types of clouds?

• What kind of shapes do you see?

• What are stars?

• What is the biggest star?

• What is a constellation? Which ones can you find?

• Can you make a book with pictures of everything you see in the clouds and stars?

Related stories: Cloud Animals, Lights Out

Exploring family history.

• What did your great-grandparents/aunts/uncles/etc. do for a living?

• Where did they live?

• What is the origin of your last name?

• Who do you recognize in old photo albums?

• What is a family tree? Can you make one?

• What things do you have in common with others from your family? (Habits, mannerisms, physical features, etc.)

Related stories: Family Tree, Little Old Me

Going to the zoo.

• What’s your favorite animal? What does it eat?

• Why do animals live in different habitats?

• What is the baby version of a ______ called? (e.g., lion: cub)

• If you could have any animal in the world as a pet or friend, which would it be? (Or, invent your own!)

Related stories: Surprise, Best Friends

“No matter where you live, the world around you is bursting with questions to be asked and information to be learned,” O’Toole says. “You just have to keep your eyes open so that you see opportunities to ask them! Remember, curiosity is something your children were born with. Your job is to learn how to foster and encourage your children’s natural impulses to ask questions and learn new things. This summer, you may be surprised by how much fun you have in the process!”

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About Victoria Ryan O’Toole:
Victoria Ryan O’Toole is the author of the popular Molly Moccasins books, apps, games, and activity series. The first dictionary that O’Toole ever received was inscribed with a powerful message from her favorite uncle: “A curious mind is never bored.” As soon as she read that line, she knew life would never be boring—and it never has been.

O’Toole’s first children’s book series, Molly Moccasins, is evidence of Victoria’s optimistic perspective. Molly Moccasins finds meaning, knowledge, and adventure in everyday life—just as Victoria has since she was young. Now Victoria has written and published nearly 70 Molly Moccasins stories for the series, which have sold in almost one hundred countries in less than a year.

She delights in her life in Southern California with her husband, twin daughters, and twin yellow labs, and is thrilled to be writing adventure stories that encourage children to use their imaginations and natural curiosities, just as she continues to use hers.

About Molly Moccasins:
The Molly Moccasins book series and advertising-free website are for all young adventurers who like to read, play, think, imagine, and investigate. The lead character, Molly, with her spirited imagination, slightly sophisticated vocabulary, and positive perspective, delights in some great adventures with her family, friends, and the people (and creatures) she encounters in her everyday life. The website is launching with nearly 70 stories and even more game options.

Using contemporary media, this unique story, game, and activity book series is for children, parents, and educators and can now be enjoyed in print and on almost all digital platforms: web, apps, ebooks, and audio books.

For more information, please visit