As children do we have a natural ability and motivation to take up new interests (such as languages, sports, and musical instruments) which as adults we seem to lose? Are there too many social pressures on adults or are there other reasons for the apparent decline in a human being’s capacity to learn?

Childhood is the time to study. Children have all the time in the world to focus on studies. They have no other diversions or responsibilities that can interfere with their learning activities. Learning is their only aim. Adults on the other hand many responsibilities and have to juggle with multiple things. 

Till the age of ten the brain has the special ability to learn languages. A child has the capability to pick up several languages from friends with whom they study or play together with no effort. But adults can master languages easily if they have a reason and purpose.

Likewise a child can easily learn musical instruments if he or she has a special inclination. It would be more right to say that if a person has an inclination to learn music irrespective of his age, then he can easily do so. His learning ability will be more enhanced. But there are so many instances when an adult suddenly found interest in learning music and he successfully mastered a musical instrument or start singing or acting or any other vocation or interest.

A child has a flexible body and strong limbs. His body is supple. He can learn sport he wants to. An adult’s body begins to lose flexibility and stamina. He may not be as enthusiastic about sports and may lack focus. Hence an adult can take longer to master any sport or give up easily.

As one gains in age some learning difficulties are experienced. This could be due to a genuine decline in learning abilities and mental abilities. Obvious reasons can be having too many family, personal and social responsibilities that take the interest and time away. Learning any skill will be one of the preoccupations that can be in conflict with other pressing matters.If children have a greater natural ability and motivation to learn than adults it is because studying is their main occupation and they have no other diversion or mental preoccupation. After the age of twelve their intellectual faculties like thinking and analyzing sharpen. Their grasping power is more. They are free from all responsibilities and have no worries or tension.

The adults on the other hand are burdened with responsibilities like work, family and social life. They have to run the house, take care of kids and fulfil social obligations. People have to work to make a living. They have to maintain relations with relatives and friends without whom life is impossible. They have to manage all the household chores and shopping. The kids education is another important responsibility. In addition they may have tensions or challenges related to work, business or family. Thus we can see they can have several mental preoccupations. 

A decline in mental and physical agility due to age can lead to a decline in interest to learn new interests or add on to existing ones. If one has motivation and determination a person can learn whatever his sets his mind to with equal ease as a child. Often we see adults who take up learning at a later stage in life due to inherent interest in a particular subject.

Hence it can be concluded that learning a new subject or a new physical activity can be easier for a child as he his mind is more eager to learn. But the same can be true of adults too in some respects. But all sports cannot be played well or learnt well at a later stage as physical strength begins to decline. The ageing of the brain begins as soon as one completes thirty years or even earlier. So certain ageing factors can reduce learning.