Inside: 100 questions to ask kids for family connection and bonding.
My usually energetic, animated three-year-old boy stood still. It’s been 10 minutes since the last time he moved a muscle. He was mesmerized by the beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium.
He watched the massive white sea animals swim up and down behind the tall thick glass. The 2,000-pound creatures looked like they were having a blast entertaining the people on the other side of the glass barrier.
I wondered what was inside my little boy’s head. What did he think as he watched the gentle giants play? What was it that stopped my bouncy little boy in his tracks and had such a strong hold of his attention?
Sure, the animals were fun to watch, but I knew my little boy well. This was a bunny-boy on batteries that just kept going, and going, and going. And now there he was, standing before an enormous aquarium of beautiful sea creatures, and it seemed that someone pressed the “off” button on his charge port.
He turned around, found me with his eyes, and asked me a question.
“Can we bring them home?”
Suddenly it all made sense. My son stood still, imagining the beluga whales greet him through a thick glass wall in his bedroom as he woke in the morning. He imagined swimming with them, throwing a beluga-sized ball to them, and feeding them goldfish crackers.
Such a colorful world lived inside my little boy’s head. He had such innocent incomprehension of reality, that it made me want to daydream about having a pet beluga whale, too.
Asking kids questions is one of the best ways to take a peek into what’s going on in our kids’ minds and to take a step into their world of imagination. They can be funny questions, silly questions, simple questions, thoughtful questions, and even serious questions. These questions will open up the door to their world so we can look through it and remember what it’s like to be a kid.
Why do we need to ask kids questions?
When kids answer open-ended questions it helps with their language development as well as their critical thinking. It’s also a great way for us to get to know our kids better, to better understand their thought processes, and help develop their creativity.
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100 Questions to Ask Kids
- What is love?
- What scares you?
- Do you like bugs?
- What is happiness?
- What makes you happy?
- What is your secret talent?
- What makes a person kind?
- Did you help anyone today?
- What makes you feel loved?
- What are you really good at?
- What makes a happy home?
- How did mom and dad meet?
- Are the rules in our family fair?
- What does being brave mean?
- How would you describe God?
- What are you grateful for today?
- Describe yourself in three words.
- Describe our family in three words.
- Name the qualities of a good friend.
- What do you worry about the most?
- What does your perfect day look like?
- Describe the happiest day of your life.
- What job would you not want to have?
- Finish this sentence: “I wish I could…”
- What names would you give your kids?
- What is your favorite weekend activity?
- What do you like most about your dad?
- If you had a store, what would you sell?
- What is the hardest thing about school?
- What is your favorite place in our home?
- What is your favorite thing to do for fun?
- What’s the best thing about being a kid?
- What do you like most about your mom?
- Tell me about your most favorite memory.
- What’s one rule you wish we didn’t have?
- What do boys not understand about girls?
- What do girls not understand about boys?
- What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
- Describe something that embarrasses you.
- What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
- What is your favorite thing about our family?
- What is the best thing that happened today?
- What is the most important thing in your life?
- If you got $1,000, what would you do with it?
- If you could time travel, where would you go?
- If you had one superpower, what would it be?
- What is the worst thing that happened today?
- What is the best way to make someone smile?
- If you were an inventor, what would you invent?
- Tell me about your most embarrassing moment.
- What makes you feel better when you’re upset?
- What is something you did that you’re proud of?
- If you could make up a holiday, what would it be?
- What is the best thing to do when you feel angry?
- If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
- If you learned to cook, what would you cook first?
- Does it matter if a person lies, if no-one finds out?
- What do you think mom/dad was like at your age?
- If you could ask God a question, what would it be?
- If you would only have one wish, what would it be?
- If you could get rid of one chore, what would it be?
- Would you rather have a bunny or a lizard as a pet?
- If you were a superhero, what would your name be?
- Do you think any person can cry for a good reason?
- What is something you can do that no-one else can?
- What would you do to make this world a better place?
- Is it ever ok to share a secret you were asked to keep?
- If you got into serious trouble, what would you do first?
- If we had a role switch day, who would you want to be?
- How many kids do you want to have when you grow up?
- How would you want me to help you when you’re upset?
- If you discovered a new planet, what would you name it?
- What is your favorite thing that we do together as a family?
- If you could do one act of kindness today, what would it be?
- If you could have any job in the world, what job would it be?
- If you could do one chore for a year, what chore would it be?
- What type of home do you want to live in when you grow up?
- What is the most important thing your parents did/do for you?
- What is the difference between being smart and being wise?
- If you could teach mom and dad one thing, what would it be?
- If you could ask mom/dad any question, what would you ask?
- If you had a date with mom/dad, what would you do together?
- If you became an author, what would your first book be about?
- What would you let your kids do that you’re not allowed to do?
- If you could learn to do something overnight, what would it be?
- If you could be famous, what would you want to be famous for?
- What is the most important thing you learned from your parents?
- Would you rather have a house on the beach or in the mountains?
- If you could live in a book for a day, which book would you choose?
- What is one thing or event that you would like to have a do-over for?
- If you could turn any age you want right now, how old would you be?
- If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- In your opinion, what is the most important quality for a person to have?
- If you could take any animal home from the zoo, what animal would it be?
- If you were stuck on a desert island, what 5 things would you bring with you?
- How much screen time should each person in this house be allowed per day?
- If you had a chance to have a different first name, what name would you pick?
- If our next vacation destination was up to you, where would you want us to go?
- If you could pick one place to travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- If a friend wanted to give up on something he’s been working hard on, how would you motivate him to keep going?
20 Bonus questions for kids
- What’s your favorite joke?
- Do you have a best friend?
- What is the grossest thing you ate?
- Who is the funniest person you know?
- What is the silliest thing you’ve ever done?
- What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
- What’s one thing you could tell your younger self?
- If you starred in a tv show, which show would it be?
- If you had a pet dragon, what would you name him?
- If you were a cartoon character, which one would you be?
- What is the funniest thing that happened to you this year?
- If you had a time machine, what year would you travel to?
- What is the first thing you remember when you were little?
- What is one of the most important things to you right now?
- What is a good way to show someone you appreciate them?
- What’s a favorite food of yours that other kids generally dislike?
- If you could pick out a new animal as a pet, what animal would it be?
- If you could pick out a superhero name for yourself, what would it be?
- What’s the best thing about being the oldest/youngest/middle/only child?
- If you had a lot of time on your hands and no electronic devices, what would you do?
How to get kids to give better answers to your questions
It’s a good idea to add “Why” at the end of these questions. This prompts kids to think deeper and exercise their cognitive skills. You can keep asking them follow-up questions to guide the conversation and gently teach them to dive deeper into a topic or an idea.
Helping school-aged kids to open up
Sometimes it’s hard to get school-aged kids to talk. I’ve learned that simply asking “How was your day”, “What’s your favorite subject” and, “What did you do in school today” doesn’t usually get kids to open up. Asking an open-ended question, however, often results in meaningful conversations. There are a lot of questions here to pick from.
When to ask kids questions
You can literally do it anywhere at any time. You can ask these questions at the dinner table, on a long car ride, or on the way to school. It’s a great way to spend some quality time with young children, tweens, and teens. It beats playing video games any day.
You can even make it a favorite family tradition and ask kids one question of the day from this list.
I asked my kids an open-ended question recently and it led to an enormous list of 140 fun summer bucket list ideas for kids. It was a productive and fun way to spend time together.
Use these questions to make your own kiddie survey, or compile a list to ask your kids every year and see how their answers change with age. Enjoy these conversations with your kids, and who knows, maybe they will teach you something new, too.