Children are naturally curious and love to play. You can combine these two traits to foster a love of learning. Children also learn through imitation. When they see you reading, studying and learning, they observe that learning is important. Share exciting new insights with your child or special news events. Your child might not be as excited about it as you are, but it sets an example of lifelong learning.
Read to your child. Being literate opens doors to learning. Even reading chubby board books with just a few words per page sets a habit of appreciating and using books. As your child grows, read all sorts of books, including some nonfiction books about plants and animals that are familiar to your child. Encourage questions, and use your public library or a computer with Internet access to help your child look up the answers.
Provide toys that require active participation, such as dolls, plastic figurines, vehicles or building blocks. Bring out just a few of them at a time so your child can interact with them in a variety of ways. Don't be surprised if dinosaurs have tea parties or trucks develop a social club. Imagination is an important part of your child's ability to learn and explore. When he provides the dialogue or action, he is actively learning.
Explore your immediate world together. Mark off a three-foot circle in your back yard or at the local park and help your child examine the vegetation and insect life inside the circle. Take along a magnifying glass to get a better look at grass stems, bugs and even small flowers. Bake a cake or cookies together, and learn about measuring. Watch how baking soda and vinegar react, and look up in a book or on the Internet the reasons why the two create a bubbly foam.
Demonstrate how to use reference books to maintain your vehicle or do household repairs. Share practical skills such as how to drive a nail or cut a board using a handsaw. Explore hand sewing or similar skills that will help your child maintain his wardrobe. Even if he is not interested in making a shirt or pair of pants, he can learn to sew on a button or use an iron-on patch to mend a tear in a favorite pair of jeans. Compare the cost of repairing an item to replacing it, and brainstorm ways to spend the money saved.