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Learning Resource: The Gift of Nature

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

I’ve always loved nature! My love for nature stemmed from my childhood. Nature has was always a learning resource that taught me lessons that couldn’t be seen from a different person’s perspective in a classroom, only my own. It also naturally helped foster a love for traveling, exploring, and history. This all helped me broaden my perspective, value the things that are often taken for granted, and generally taught me what textbooks could not. That’s why I instilled a love for the aforementioned with my own children. I’m happy to say that they take delight in all of these things as much as I do, especially nature!

Learning Resource: Hiking

Nature is truly a learning resource. That’s why hiking is one of my all-time favorite activities that I love to do with family. Hiking is one of the most pleasant ways to connect with nature, bond with family, and enjoy the world around you. I deem it nature’s therapy, because we’re always at the most serene and peaceful state of mind when hiking. It has been proven that hiking can reduce stress and foster creativity. Personally, I’ve found that nothing clears my mind more than when I’m surrounded by the beauty of nature. Having a clear mind helps me find inspiration within nature for some of my favorite creative outlets, such as writing, photography, and painting.

National Parks Are a Learning Resource

As the adage goes, “Sometimes the best things in life are free.” American author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau once said that “all good things are wild and free.” Both are worthy sentiments for every adventurer to keep in mind.

Speaking of Henry David Thoreau, this brings another thing that I’ve always loved: reading! Henry David Thoreau is one of my all-time favorite authors. I highly encourage you to pick up the kid-friendly Henry David Thoreau for Kids: His Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities by Corinne Hosfeld Smith. It’s a beautifully written biography that tells the story of Henry David Thoreau, whom had a fine appreciation for nature. This book is also a learning resource that’s filled with 21 engaging, hands-on activities that includes planting a garden, building a model of the Walden cabin, going on a half-day hike, and starting a rock collection, to name a few.

Learning Resource: Leaves

I’m saddened by these facts:

– 61 percent of low-income families don’t have any books at all in their homes for their children.
– There’s a 13 to 1 ratio of books per a child in middle-income neighborhoods, whereas there’s 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods.

Companies like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt believe in sparking curiosity and stimulating the minds of children, which can add up to something greater: a lifetime of learning. That’s why they want to highlight the intellectually enlightening moments that can help leave lasting impression in our children’s lives. Our children are our future. The least thing we can do for them is help them reach their full potential.

The digital age that we live in has made it easier than ever to hinder poverty from educating children. The power of social media has given us a voice. We can use this voice to create change and influence others worldwide with the #SparkaMind hashtag. This hashtag will appear on the #SparkaMind micro-site every time someone uses it on social media. In return, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will donate a children’s book to an early learning organization to help close the early education gap, thus preparing children for long-term success in school and life.

Additionally, you can help foster your child’s love for learning with the Curious World app. This early learning app was created for children ages 3-7 and offers over 500 fun and educational games, videos and books! Currently, it’s free for the first 30 days and then 20% off your monthly subscription via this link. The offer ends on April 30th, 2016.

Share something (or someone) that has inspired you.

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About the author


HilLesha O'Nan resides in Newburgh, Indiana with her husband and 3 children. She's a lifestyle blogger that enjoys photography, fashion + beauty, traveling + adventure, gardening, and interior decorating. She is also the founder of To the Motherhood, Fashion Fling, and The Beauty Counter.


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  • That’s sad to think that so many families don’t have books. I know in my town, the library gives books away to low income families so that the kids don’t have to go without.

  • As a former Reading Specialist, I know about the vast difference between the amount of books available to kids in homes depending on a family’s financial situation. Love the aim of this hashtag campaign.

  • Our home is full of books. Books are such an amazing tool for children. They’re full of history, new content, fiction, a place for a child to grow their imagination! We always donate and rotate out our books when the boys are finished with them!

  • I have the perfect audience for my friends daughter Stella for the HDT book you mentioned. Thanks for the suggestion – you have perfect timing for me!

  • It really does pain me to hear of families who can’t afford to buy books for their children. I’ve donated several in the past and I always look for the best deals.

    Books can get expensive, but there are so many versions to a story.

  • The thought of not having books is so sad! Around my family area there are many places where you can take books and leave them for other people to read, and they do the same. Like a circle, it’s such a great idea!

  • I’m definitely going to share the CuriousWorld App with my sister. I know my nephew would love it. It is a shame to see that kids in poverty are still missing out on reading, but I’m glad Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is doing something about it.

  • Books are so important to me and my family! We have a large collection – and we homeschool using a literature based approach, so even more books. That app sounds like something my 5 year old will enjoy! I will have to check it out.

  • My two children inspire me every single day to be the best mother that I can possibly be. I’m so motivated to be better every single day just to make them happy and proud.

  • I love nature. If I had the choice, I would not be here living in the city. I would probably be in a cozy cabin in the mountains. I just love the quiet peacefulness and an unobstructed view of the night sky. I hope children would be given the opportunity to enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer.

  • These are beautiful nature pictures. It makes me so sad that there are children who lack books! Books are magical. They throw you into a different world where you gain so much knowledge and experience.

  • Agree. There’s so many things we can learn from nature. This is why I recommend schools to find interesting places for the kids to visit and not only spend their entire time teaching lessons inside the four walls of the classroom. Outbound education about nature will be extra fun.

  • Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine children not having books at home. I try to donate our books to our kids classrooms so they have new books available to read from.

  • YES! I am terrible at sitting down and teaching my child things at a table but am good about getting her outside and talking to her about things and she is really so smart! I think it’s the best way to learn!

  • We’ve been making a point to go out on walks together, as a family, in the parks around our town. It’s so nice to get outside and explore. I need to introduce my son to the library, too, so he can read more. He has his own bookshelf, and loves to pick out books each night for us to read together.

Hello! I’m HilLesha and I live in Newburgh, Indiana with my husband and 3 children. I love photography, fashion, beauty, home improvement, traveling, cooking, and wellness. Additional info. Please contact me at HilLesha@gmail.com.

I’m also the founder of Fashion Fling and The Beauty Counter.

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