Curiosity is contagious
When I was six, a bat flew into my house.
We lived in the city, and I’d barely seen any animals other than our dog, Lala. The bat in my mom’s bedroom was a small, fuzzy mystery, and I had lots of questions: “Where did it come from? Will it bite us? What does it eat? Does it hibernate?”
My mother didn’t know anything about bats, but she knew where to go. She took me to the library (this was before Google), and helped me find an encyclopedia. But the tiny article didn’t answer every question I had. That week, she gave me a small bat puppet and a picture book about bats. She told me to draw bats and to write about them. There was another library trip. We learned together.
When you’re a kid, new experiences inspire curiosity.
Our Explorer’s Library apps present kids with models of both familiar (family homes, crashing thunderstorms, and craggy mountains) and invisible (the utilities behind walls, warm air feeding hurricanes, and shifting tectonic plates) parts of the world. We hope that as they play and discover things they haven't seen before, kids will ask lots of questions. But we don’t expect parents to know all of the answers. That’s where our Explorer’s Library handbooks come in.
As we test each app, we pay close attention to what kids are curious about. We organize our handbooks around questions kids ask us and areas of the app that capture their attention. Kids ask sophisticated questions, and they deserve sound answers. To make sure we’ve got the facts right, we research each subject for months then ask expert reviewers to check the answers we provide.
The Explorer’s Library handbooks help parents (and educators) link what kids learn on screen to further learning experiences in the world. They include interaction prompts designed to help kids find answers to their questions within the app, and they include activities and discussion questions that prompt real world exploration.
Curiosity is contagious. When kids ask questions, they invite us to learn with them. Research shows that educational media is most impactful when kids and adults use it together. When adults model curiosity and inquiry for their children, the message sticks.