This post was sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
We are fast leaving the days of early childhood education behind us. My son is happily settled into the 1st grade, and my daughter is in her last year at our beloved preschool. I’ll be sad to bid the sweetness of these early years goodbye, but I’ll always be grateful for all the things they taught our family.
One very important lesson I learned was the value of playtime. My Type A personality rolled into motherhood with a sharp pencil and a fresh planner so I could fill up our days with loads of fun and stimulating activities. Then, two things happened. Firstly, I got tired. Constantly running from here to there with young kids is exhausting. Secondly, I realized my children were having the most fun and being the most creative during unscheduled play time. In tune with this realization, the famous quote “Play is the work of the child” from Maria Montessori kept firing through my mind.
This motivated me to pare down our schedule and allow for more relaxation and downtime around our home, which quickly proved to be a smart move! My kids enjoyed the unscheduled time, and this is still very true today. Every morning, after breakfast and before school starts, they have gotten into the habit of imaginative play. Some days, they play house. Other days, school, camping, Princesses and Swords (no idea what this exactly entails) or Angry Birds Tag (another one Mommy is clueless about). Regardless of the days’ theme, the downtime gives them space to do that important work of childhood–play.
Aside from the sweetness of watching my kids play together like this, I know that by encouraging this play time, their imaginations are getting get a workout too. Encouraging curiosity sparks creativity, excitement and personal success in children by leaving them feeling smart, valuable and capable.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt agrees with the value of taking advantage of these everyday moments to spark curiosity and stimulate young minds. These individual moments of curious play add up to a lifetime of learning. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is highlighting the importance of these important moments with their #SparkAMind campaign, where such moments will be captured and shared so everyone can share ideas and find inspiring ways to spark a mind.
This campaign invites you to share experiences and moments that have sparked passion, imagination and curiosity in your own lives – from a special trip to a simple walk to the park. To participate, share what inspired you on social media using #SparkAMind. The stories will be gathered on the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt webpage for everyone to check out and find encouragement. Make sure to visit the site to get ideas for growing curiosity and creativity in your world!
Even cooler, for every use of #SparkAMind, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will donate a book to a non-profit partner that shares their mission for ensuring all learners have access to the resources they need to thrive (so get sharing with that hashtag, friends!) This is such a valuable pursuit, as 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.) Worse, 61 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. (Reading Literacy in the United States, 1996.)
To encourage even more early learning in your home, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has developed the The Curious World app, an app designed for kids ages 3-7 with over 500 fun and educational games, videos and books. And as one of my readers, you can snatch up this app for a discounted price! Go HERE to get the promo code for savings.
However you spark minds in your world, friends, remember the value of creativity and imagination and get that early learning under way! Make sure to post your inspiration with #SparkAMind to share the encouragement at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and to help get books into the hands of young ones everywhere!
Latest posts by Meredith (see all)
- Under the Whispering Door Book Club Discussion - December 3, 2021
- The Perfect Hershey Weekend for Your Family - December 2, 2021
- The 3 Best Tips To Fill A New House When You’ve Upsized - November 30, 2021