Top 50 Open-Ended Questions for Sparking Conversation with Children and Older Kids

Updated on April 20, 2016
Lela Davidson profile image

Lela Davidson is a mother and writer, passionate about healthcare and education for women and children.

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In the News:

This is a great article that highlights the benefit of good conversation with your children:
Dinner talks help prevent substance abuse


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Asking open-ended questions is a great way to get information from and bond with your children. Good open-ended questions encourage more conversation than closed questions, which can be answered by a simple yes or no. Practice with these type of questions and you'll have both conversation topic for kids and the opportunity to build a better relationship with your child.

Click here for great ways to use open ended questions.

Here are my favorite 50:

  1. What is the most amazing thing about you?
  2. Which of your friends do you think I like the most? Why?
  3. What would be the ideal allowance and how you spend use it?
  4. Tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
  5. If a genie would give you only one wish, which would you pick, and why?
  6. When you feel sad, what cheers you up?
  7. What punishment have I given you that you thought was really unfair? Why?
  8. If you could change three things about yourself, what would they be?
  9. What kinds of lies do your friends tell their parents?
  10. What are the qualities that make a good friend?
  11. Tell me about your favorite toy when you were little?
  12. Tell me about something I never knew you did when you were little.
  13. What do you say to comfort yourself when something scares you?
  14. If you could decorate our whole house, what would it look like?
  15. Looking at your pictures, when have you been the cutest so far?
  16. What do you think are the characteristics that make a good parent?
  17. What kind of sex education do you think kids ought to get in school?
  18. What is the most enjoyable thing our family has done together this year?
  19. At what age do you think kids fall in love?
  20. What do you think is beyond the stars?
  21. What is the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?
  22. Name two things we should do as a family on the weekend.
  23. How do you think kids are affected by divorce?
  24. Who is the meanest kid you know? Why?
  25. Do you believe in heaven? If not, why? If so, what do you think it's like?
  26. If you were going to have a weird, unusual pet, what would it be?
  27. Do you think honesty is always the best policy? Why or why not?
  28. What have you done, in school or sports or anywhere, that you are especially proud of?
  29. Which of your friends are you proudest of? Why?
  30. Have you ever had a dream that really scared you? What was it about?
  31. Describe the most beautiful place you have ever visited?
  32. How do you describe me to your friends?
  33. Have you ever gotten really lost? If so, tell me about it. How did you feel?
  34. Do you think you live in a dangerous neighborhood? Why or why not?
  35. Not counting our religion, which religions do you find interesting? Why?
  36. What is the grossest thing you can think of?
  37. Is there anybody in history that you have read about that you would like to be?
  38. What do you think is the right age for marriage? Why?
  39. Tell me three things you remember about kindergarten.
  40. What kids are popular in your grade? What do you think makes a person popular?
  41. Has anyone ever tried to give you drugs? If so, what did you do?
  42. If you knew a friend of yours had stolen something, what would you do about it?
  43. If you could trade lives with somebody you know, who would it be?
  44. How do you think you would feel if you thought you were going to be the first person to meet someone from outer space? What would you say or ask?
  45. What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
  46. What is your very earliest memory as a very little kid?
  47. Do you think any of our neighbors are scary?
  48. Do you ever have a dream that comes back over and over? If so, what is it like?
  49. Why do you think some people don't like animals?

And the all time family favorite - What would you do if you won the lottery - the BIG one.

We love to play with this last question in our house, which is hilarious because we don't play! But it's still nice to ponder how we'd spend our time if money were no object.

Questions & Answers

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    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 

      4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      This hub is excellent-- full of wonderful ideas to communicate more deeply with the children in our lives! I'm pinning to to my "Parenting Help" Board that has 643 followers. Parents want to know about these open-ended questions! Thanks! voted up...

    • Anish Nrk profile image

      ANISH N R K 

      4 years ago from Kerala, India

      asking open ended questions also serves 2 purposes:

      it makes children thing

      it develops linguistic skills

      asking about questions like no:5 & 45 will spark fantasy thinking and

    • Allyson Cardis profile image

      Allyson Cardis 

      4 years ago from Gloucestershire, England

      I think this is my favourite ever 'family and parenting' hub. I love the concept of being interested in kids and engaging with them as people who have opini0ns.

    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 

      4 years ago from Sweden

      Amazing, thank you:)

    • topkidsreview profile image

      David Heinz 

      5 years ago from Salt Lake City, UT

      I don't think you could have said it better. I get those questions on a daily basis.

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 

      5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      What a useful hub!

    • Kiwi Max profile image

      Max Zvyagintsev 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Awesome conversation starters Lela!

      I have 2 younger brothers (2 & 4). We have all sort of fun and weird conversations.

      Next time I think I'll try a few of your starters :)

    • mse profile image

      mse 

      5 years ago from texas

      Love these!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 years ago from USA

      Very good conversation starters!

    • profile image

      Rini Verhoeve 

      7 years ago

      Thank you so much for this, this is really help me alots. thanks again...:-)

    • profile image

      Mary Mazzoni 

      7 years ago

      Great post. A real blessing. Thanks!!

    • profile image

      hyatguy 

      7 years ago

      Hi there!

      I'm trying to create a resource for being great at conversation - I know I'm not that good at talking to people - and it would help me out if you went here (www.agreatconversation.com/ask) and told me your main frustration, issue or obstacle that stops you being great at conversation. Mine is drying up and running out of things to say! Thanks for your help.

      Guy

    • profile image

      Gary 

      7 years ago

      Hello ! THESE questions are very ..... hmmmm..interesting.

    • Sun-Girl profile image

      Sun-Girl 

      7 years ago from Nigeria

      Intelligent article you have here Davidson,glad to read fro you.

    • AutumnLockwood profile image

      AutumnLockwood 

      8 years ago from Northern California

      Great tips. Love your hub!

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 

      8 years ago from east of the equator

      I agree with Jason's comment of 2 years ago. These same questions can spark some lively conversation and draw up some old memories among adults. Great work with this article. I am printing your questions and putting them in my pocket to see if I can answer them myself. Cheers.

    • celinewayne profile image

      celinewayne 

      8 years ago

      brilliant idea!

      thanks for sharing this =)

      i'm sure you become the most favorite mommy in the world =)

    • Kharisma1980 profile image

      Kharisma1980 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks for this Hub...what fabulous questions!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 

      8 years ago from Queensland Australia

      fantastic list must copy & put in my pocket !

    • Jeff Berndt profile image

      Jeff Berndt 

      8 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      I'm linking to this.

    • profile image

      Joshua U 

      9 years ago

      You're teasing me. What's the 50th? There's only 49 ;) Most young children would love hearing the majority of those questions at any time because they spark imagination.

    • Lela Davidson profile imageAUTHOR

      Lela Davidson 

      9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

      Thanks, johnr54. That's a good point. Same goes for spouses!

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      9 years ago from Texas

      This is a good list. With teens the other thing to remember is that you need to pick a good time to talk, if they aren't in the mood it really doesn't matter what you ask, you'll just get grunts.

    • seamus profile image

      seamus 

      10 years ago

      My little one is too young for some of these now. I'll keep these in mind though. I love to ask her questions and see what she says.

    • MasonsMom profile image

      MasonsMom 

      10 years ago from U.S.A.

      These are great!

    • JerseyGirl profile image

      JerseyGirl 

      10 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Very nicely done!

    • RainbowRecognizer profile image

      RainbowRecognizer 

      10 years ago from Midwest

      These are awesome, Lela, and what a Great idea for a hub!!!

    • Jason Stanley profile image

      Jason Stanley 

      10 years ago

      This is an excelled idea - and one that is very much needed with kids.

      These type of questions are great not only for building relationships with your children, they are also great for teaching values and getting children to evaluate their own actions against their own desires and values.

      During dinner we frequently asked our children: What did you do today that you are proud of? Why are you proud of that? And What did you do today that you would do differently if you could? Why would you change it?

      Now that our kids are grown, we still use some variation of this with our friends - it is amazing how much conversation it starts and how much you learn about your friends. Sometimes it takes a bit of courage to answer, but that is so much better than just talking about some silly make believe movie.

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