Beginning at about 18 months old, children can develop extremely intense interests that last for weeks, months, or even years. Research suggests that as many as a third of young children develop at least one such interest.
The tendency for young children to develop deep interests in science and technology topics may be associated with:
- The autism spectrum
- Nerdiness and/or geekiness
- A future in science/technology
There really does seem to be a gender gap at play. Various studies have found that boys are three to six times more likely to develop extremely intense interests than girls.
Now what, if anything, should we do about that?
Deloache, J. S., Simcock, G., & Macari, S. (2007). Planes, trains, automobiles – and tea sets: Extremely intense interests in very young children. Developmental Psychology, 43, 1579-1586.
Leibham, M. E., Alexander, J. M., Johnson, K. E., Neitzel, C., & Reis-Henrie, F. (2005). Parenting behaviors associated with early intense interests in domains related to science. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 397-414.