Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
When I became a parent, one of the things I wanted to pass down to my daughter was a lifelong love of learning. My parents had given me the gift of curiosity, interest in anything new, and a desire to learn about anything and everything. I remember my mom and dad would encourage me to find something interesting in life around me, to never be bored, and to always be curious. I’ve always loved reading and that partnered with the feeling of finding joy in learning new things, perfectly. There are so many things available to us to teach our children, where do we turn to find the right learning resource?
How does a parent spark curiosity in their child? For me, I saw the “spark” of learning generated in my daughter, when she had fun learning. And one of the ways that we had fun was through the character of Curious George. Curious George is, for our family, still to this day, entertaining and funny (all the while, still teaching us!). From the very first Curious George book, to the 74th episode (I really think we had that many recorded) we watched on television, George taught my daughter, the excitement and fun that could be found all around us. In the most ordinary, every day things, like weather, George could discover fascinating things.
In thinking about this post, and what “sparked” excitement in my daughter’s early learning, I ran across a study that explored the effects of Curious George on children and parents. No surprise to me, the study found that books and television shows promoted scientific habits. What are scientific habits? It’s a way of thinking that is characterized by curiosity, asking questions, making and testing hypothesis or predictions. It means your child can be encouraged by books and educational programs to interact with the world around them, wanting to learn “why” and “how” things happen.
Not only did books and programs, like Curious George, encourage my daughter to explore and question her world, they made science and math fun and interesting for her. I’m sure you’ve heard about the lack of effective STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education in our country. The United States is losing it’s stature to other countries when it comes to STEM education and competency. Especially for females in the United States. Did you know:
- In middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. (Neuman, Susan B. and David K. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2. New York, NY: 2006, p. 31.)
- 61 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. (Reading Literacy in the United States, 1996.)
The US publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt believes that everyday moments can spark curiosity and stimulate the mind in an instant. And when our children are curious, it adds up to a lifetime of learning. By encouraging “sparks” in the minds of our children we can make a lasting positive impact in our children’s lives. They’ve started a program called #SparkAMind. Every time someone uses #SparkAMind, it appears on the #SparkAMind mini-site and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will donate a children’s book to an early learning organization. This program helps close the early education gap and prepare children for long-term success in school and in life.
In addition to publishing children’s books and sponsoring children’s programming, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has created an early learning app designed for kids ages 3-7 with over 500 fun and educational games, videos and books called The Curious World app. They are offering a special discount to KLY readers! Please check it out here: The Curious World.
I encourage you to explore the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website,
to learn more about Early Learning and #SparkAMind.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt #SparkAMind website
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