Questions to Inspire and Motivate Kids to Think BIG

Astronaut character.

As children grow, they quickly become aware of the many constraints and boundaries placed upon them. Their socioeconomic status, geographic location, access to resources, and more can all subtly dictate the scope of their dreams and aspirations.

As parents and educators, we can help children see beyond their immediate situation and encourage them to envision a future beyond these barriers. We can empower them to think without constraints, challenge the status quo, and ask, “What if?” and “Why not?”.

By nurturing an inquisitive, open-minded culture of curiosity and exploration, we can equip children with the tools to navigate a complex and often challenging world.

We’ll share some questions to inspire and motivate children, grouped by category. The answers will vary greatly depending on the age and emotional intelligence of the children asked. However, we hope you’ll find them equally valuable for younger and older children.

If you’re a teacher, why not incorporate some of these questions into a lesson on thinking big and aspirations?

Questions to inspire limitless thinking:

These are questions that invite us to think BIG and spark unbridled creativity. They are intended to make us consider the limitless possibilities of being free from constraints.

What would you do if there was absolutely no way you could fail?

If you could design your own planet, what rules would govern it, and what would it look like?

What job would you like to do if you had a limitless amount of money?

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

Who would you most like to meet, and what questions would you ask them?

If you could be an expert on something, what would it be and why?

If you could invent something to make the world a better place, what would it be?

Questions to encourage curiosity:

Curiosity can be a powerful driving force behind learning and innovation. These questions are intended to ignite our imaginations and trigger further questions.

How does a plant know when to start growing?

Do you think there’s intelligent life on other planets, and why do you think that?

How does a caterpillar know how to turn into a butterfly?

What makes us individual and unique?

How do you think an elevator works?

What does it mean to be human?

Questions to inspire resilience:

Teaching children that failure is something to be expected and that it has positive uses can be a powerful motivator. These questions can cause us to challenge the notion that mistakes or failures are setbacks but instead stepping stones in the process of learning something. 

What’s something difficult you’ve done that you’re proud of?

In what ways can failing at something be a good thing?

What makes someone a strong person, and why?

What’s good about doing hard things?

Who do you most look up to and why?

How does it feel when you learn how to do something new?

What’s something you couldn’t do in the past, but you can now?

Questions to enhance self-reflection:

These questions are intended to get children to reflect on their experiences, feelings or actions to promote a sense of self-awareness.

How do you feel when you do something kind, and why do you think it makes you feel that way?

What are five things you’re grateful for today?

What does ‘happiness’ mean to you?

What makes a person successful?

Which activities make you feel the most like ‘you’?

What did you like best about this week?

What’s something you have you learned today?

What is the most important thing a person can be?

Practical tips for parents and educators

Normalise not knowing something. Show that it’s okay not to have all the answers and that learning is an ongoing journey.

Learn together. Engage in activities with children that foster shared learning experiences.

Share in your curiosity. When you don’t know the answer to something, try to find out together and highlight that curiosity often leads to discovery and understanding.

Welcome questions. We learn by asking questions, so embrace them and create an environment where children feel comfortable asking questions.

Reflect on experiences. Looking back at what we’ve done can help us make connections between the questions we’ve asked and the knowledge we’ve gained.

Incorporate questions into daily life. Make asking questions a normal part of everyday life, weaving them into everyday situations. Regularly ask why things are how they are and how they could be done differently.

Facilitate discussions. Allow children to express their unique thoughts and ideas and make them feel that their input is both valid and valued.

Activities and projects to inspire questioning

Incorporating hands-on activities and STEM projects which promote questioning as part of learning can inspire critical thinking and creative problem-solving.

Simple STEM-inspired activities which inspire children to ask “How?”, or “Why?” type questions to overcome obstacles and gain a deeper understanding of engineering principles can often strike a good balance between fun and challenge.

Keep asking questions!

The more questions we ask, the better we can envision a positive future.

Instead of accepting things as they are, questions (combined with a growth mindset) help us challenge the status quo, and start looking for creative solutions to our challenges.