Fostering a love of learning doesn't happen over night. It happens daily. It happens by doing life together. It should happen naturally. Not forced.
There's so much pressure on younger kids to learn at such an early age. We (including myself) are programmed to see learning as sitting at a desk with a workbook pushing out busy work or reciting math facts and division problems.
The reality is that children can learn through play, life and experiences no matter the age.
Here's a wonderful example of how my little one (3 yrs old) is taught to love learning without being forced fed what she "needs to know":
I work from home. I am a dispatcher for a nation wide roadside assistance company. Not only do I dispatch, I also train new dispatchers. This mean, I can have my little one next to me while I am watching a new dispatcher's screen.
My little one found a crusty ole' rubberband on the floor (yeah, we aren't clean freaks) and was playing with it. I was trying to focus on the dispatcher and keep her entertained at the same time so I said " Oh what color is this?" and she looked at me like .... I don't know... and I don't care, mom! I want to PLAY WITH IT!
So, I let her lead and explore her curiosity.
I asked her "What does the rubberband feek like?" She said---- "It's soft."
I asked her "What does the rubberband looked like?" She said--- "It's ...hmmmm? A snake?"
I then said " Why does it look different on this end?" She said " Hmm, I don't know mommy! "
I then said, "Why don't you touch both ends to see how it feels to you?"
She said " This one is hard and this one is soft."
As any toddlers would do, she began to stretch the rubberband and I asked her if the hard part was stretchy. The minute she tried to stretch it the piece fell off the end.
I said to her "Why do you think the piece fell off?" She just stared at me. I said "Maybe it's because that piece is dry?" "Hmm... maybe mommy, I don't know?"
At that point, she was ready to play some more.... the rubberband became a band aid, handcuffs and instrument for the next 30 minutes.
That's it. She is learning to be curious. She is learning to ask questions. She is learning to use her imagination. Most importantly, she is learning to love learning.
As a homeschooling mom who found that her children thrived more when living life together instead of being stuck in a classroom 8 hours a day, I turned my love of travel and educating my kids into the perfect mix: unschooling.