How To #SparkAMind And Use Early Learning Resources For A Lifetime of Learning

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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?

#SparkAMind-Houghton Mifflin Harcourt-Early Learning-Curious George

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.

#SparkAMind-Houghton Mifflin Harcourt-Early Learning-Lifetime of Learning

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.

#SparkAMind-Houghton Mifflin Harcourt-Early Learning-Lifetime of Learning2

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.)

#SparkAMind-Houghton Mifflin Harcourt-Early Learning

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.

sparkamind discount

I encourage you to explore the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website,

to learn more about Early Learning and #SparkAMind.

Additional Resources:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt #SparkAMind website
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Facebook
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Twitter
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Instagram
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Pinterest


  1. 1

    I still remember learning with Curious George. He’s a favorite!

  2. 2
    Angelica Dimeo says:

    Wow I had no clue that more than half of low income families do not have books for their children :(

  3. 3

    Loved your article and totally agree! :)

  4. 4

    I think my kids would love The Curious World application!

  5. 5

    This fact makes me sad….61 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children.

  6. 6

    Reading and learning really are so important. I love when companies give back, and think#sparkamind is a great program that Houghton Mifflin Harcour has come up with.

  7. 7
    danielle hammelef says:

    I love when publishers support getting books into the hands of children who don’t have ready access to them!

  8. 8

    My parents had me reading at a very young age and it sparked a lifetime of learning for me. I hope to pass along the same spark to my nieces and nephews. I always buy them books and other engaging gifts instead of toys. When they were really young they grumbled a bit, but my oldest niece is about to graduate high school with high honors and an IB degree, so I feel like I helped to contribute to that (her parents are NOT readers).

  9. 9

    Education is key! It’s so important that we encourage kids to learn :)

    Edye recently posted..2016 Goals

  10. 10
    Holly Thomas says:

    Curious George is my favorite!

  11. 11

    Yay for publishers stepping up!
    Megan @ reading away the days recently posted..Q & A with Esty Store creator Made By Birdies & discount treat!

  12. 12
    mrsshukra says:

    Any program that promotes books for children is A+!

  13. 13

    I feel bad for families that cannot afford books for their children to read.

  14. 14

    I loved reading as a kid, this is a great way to get kids to start reading.

  15. 15

    I really credit my mom’s reading to me at a young age to my love of reading. This is a great program.

  16. 16

    Perfect way to inspire kids to gain knowledge .

  17. 17

    A teacher says “Readers are Leaders.” True.

  18. 18

    I like projects that come in a kit

  19. 19
    Cynthia R says:

    We don’t have a lot but we do go to the library and we buy books from yard sale and thrift stores.

  20. 20
    Sunnymay says:

    I loved reading Curious George as a kid and to my kids. Another book I liked is Mrs. Ticklefeather which had wonderful illustrations.

  21. 21

    Love the stuffed monkey. So great that she seems to be having so much fun learning!
    Kaycee recently posted..Wildflower DVD Review & #GiftCloset #Giveaway US/CAN Ends 4/9

  22. 22

    We watched Mr. Wizard’s World when I was growing up and I loved learning all sorts of things from it. Just tweeted #SparkAMind.

  23. 23
    Dana Matthews says:

    This is great! Scientific habits are so important. I do all I can to encourage and promote learning with our kids.

  24. 24
    Cori Westphal says:

    Yes! Get kids off the electronics and get their minds blossoming!

  25. 25

    Books are so important for learning. These science projects definitely look like a lot of fun!

  26. 26
    Charity Cram says:

    Great article showing the importance of learning! It is really sad how many people don’t have books in their homes. They are an important tool in learning. Besides having books, we frequently visit our local library.

  27. 27

    Wow, what an awesome post. I love the different ways kids are learning. I too loved Curious George as a child. Loved this post!

  28. 28
    Sue Mullaney says:

    I think reading is ready important and every child deserves the opportunity and shouldn’t be deprived of reading books just because of their family’s financial situation. I’m very glad that HMH is being so generous and giving children from low-income families the opportunity to be able to read books!

  29. 29
    Hannah C says:

    Great post! I think it’s important to encourage children to read and learn!

  30. 30
    Tara Gauthier says:

    It’s sad to hear of low-income families not having access to something as great as books! Every child should growing up learning to love books and enjoying them. I am glad there are people donating to this cause!

  31. 31

    I would like to thank you for featuring this fine program. It looks like it does a lot of great things.

  32. 32
    Kathy Davis says:

    It was fun to read to my children, and we watched The Magic School Bus & Bill Nye. Now, someday I will do the same with my grandchildren.

  33. 33
    Marnie G (Derrick Todd) says:

    Any activity that sparks the creativity, imagination or interest in learning in a child is great.

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