How to Spark a Child's Mind for Early Learning

This post was sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

I have some creative kids who have all inspired me through their early learning. With six in the house, they have surprisingly very unique interests and passions. One really likes art, stop-animation videos, and comics. Another adores reading books -- all day, every day. One boy makes a quick study of any and every rock he has ever come in contact with, and he is amazed by the natural world. As you can see, there are very few places their interests overlap, proving that each one is an individual with a desire to do big things!

What does it take to spark a mind? The experts at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (who have made it their business to inspire learning), believe that there are many ways to create a "spark" toward a lifetime of curiosity and exploration. Their #SparkAMind hub inspires parents to connect with their kids in a number of ways, all designed to do just that!

But it's not only a destination to learn how to shape the early learning habits of small ones. It's also a place of giving and charity. In fact, you can see from the wall of social media updates, that they are donating a children's book to early learning charities every time someone uses the hashtags #SparkAMind and #Right2Read!

With my own kids, I have found that the right books are just the thing to get the ball rolling on passion, creativity, and a desire to learn. We stock our home with hundreds of quality reads in a variety of genres. The kids can reach any number of titles without my help, from full-color details on sharks to creative poems from A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. These are the books that have started a dozens discussions, inspired a thousand questions, and have created the desire to learn more and more.

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, and 61 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for kids! How frightening! Knowing this just makes what Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is doing with their book donation campaign all that more important to early learning.

Need a little help getting that "spark" going in your own kids? Check out the Curious World app from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It's a pretty sweet set up with 500+ engaging games, videos, and stories that kids between the ages of 3-7 will most definitely love. You can check it out yourself at a discount through this link. Early learning has never been easier for parents to facilitate than now!

What should you do now?
1. Visit the #SparkAMind hub and see how you can spark early learning with your kids.
2. Share with the #SparkAMind and #Right2Read hashtags to get those book numbers looking better for kids in need.
3. Continue the conversation offline by reading your children a book or two from your own library.
4. Replace a few minutes of video gaming a day with something positive, like the Curious World app.

The time to start a focus on early learning won't come again. What creative learning sparks do you already see forming in your own children?