“This post was sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.”
As a mother, I am a nurturer. I love my children, I help them when they fall, and I answer the never-ending “why” questions all day long. My children are very curious. They ask me about everything we encounter. Sometimes it’s embarrassing like the time my 4 year old said “Mom, why is that guy smoking, doesn’t he know it’s bad for him?” loud enough so the man could hear him. But that’s the amazing thing about children. They are always curious and they always want to know how something works or why something does what it does.
My kids loved to play dress up, building lego towers, playing with trucks in the sand, and kicking the ball around the yard. They are lovers of animals and love to catch all sorts of critters and bring them in the house. I love those younger years of curiosity. I love watching them figure out things on their own. I can see the satisfaction in their eyes when they accomplish something that was hard.
I always try to encourage curiosity so my home can be an environment of possibility, excitement and success. I want my kids to feel like they can ask questions and that we can figure things out together. I want my kids to feel like they are unstoppable.
I have a son who is a whiz at math. He loves school and his teachers. But he was falling behind in his reading. He had a hard time sounding out long words and most teachers let this slide by, year after year, until finally we moved to a different school. His new teachers realized this right away and they did something about it. They give him extra time to read and have given him the tools he needs to be a great reader. He didn’t like to read before and now he loves it. We read together and it’s the best time of the day. I love that his teachers have opened up the world of books to him. Now he can take an adventure any time he wants by picking up a book.
That’s why I’m so excited to be sharing with you today #SparkAMind by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. With #SparkAMind, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will capture these curious moments and create a place where everyone can share ideas. Every time someone uses the hashtag #SparkAMind in a social media share, it will show up on the #SparkAMind mini-site. When that happens, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will donate a children’s book to an early learning organization! There is a large gap in early childhood education and they are trying to close that gap by offering free books to the children that need them. In middle-income neighborhoods most children don’t have books at home. There is on average one book per 13 children. In low-income the ratio is more like 1 age appropriate book for every 300 children. That’s just not OK.
We want these children to be lifetime learners and the only way to do that is to nurture curious minds and encourage learning through books and hands on experiences. Here are some things I do with my kids to spark curiosity.
- Let them ask questions. I know that it get’s tiresome listening to the “Why” all day long, but answer as many of those questions as you can.
- Answer Correctly. Don’t just say “I don’t know” when a hard question comes up. Google it if you have to but try to get an answer. But if it’s something you really don’t have an answer for, it’s OK to say “I don’t know”. It’s good for them to know that mom or dad doesn’t know everything and that mom and dad are still curious too!
- Ask questions. When your child is playing with something, ask them questions about it. For example, if they are playing with trucks in the dirt ask them things like “Which truck would win if they climbed up that hill?” or “Which one of those trucks could pick up the most sand?”
- Read WITH them. Even when they are older. They still need questions asked to them when they are reading. They need to learn how to re-tell a story and to summarize a story. They are different and when you talk it through with them they will understand the story better.
- Pay attention to your child’s interests. The learning cycle starts with understanding your child’s interests. Find out what fascinates your child and build from there.
- Help Your Child Recognize the Value of Learning. When children take in information, they care more about the topic at hand. Connect new knowledge to everyday applications to increase interest and curiosity.
Another way to encourage curiosity is through apps. I love The Curious World app. It’s an early learning app designed for kids ages 3-7 with over 500 fun and educational games, videos and books! You can get 20% off your subscription to this app by visiting HERE.
What are your kids the most curious about right now?