On Monday I promised another idea today that would help kids maintain their comfort with routines, accountability, and the school skills of observing, thinking, and recording. Tonight I suggest making a routine of one night each week being Movie/Television Night with the family gathered around some very specially chosen DVDs or movies.
Parents.. your job is to enjoy the time with the kids but also posing questions that will challenge your kids to think, making comments that support their observations, and celebrating the excitement of their discoveries. Help them see the wonder, experience amazement, and feed their curiosity. Plus... it is great family time once a week. [Maybe even break out the popcorn or ice cream!]
For less than the price of going to a family cartoon movie, or the latest sequel.... you can purchase these DVDs to own. But, check out your local library or video lending store. Find some non-story based, fact filled, visually stunning DVDs or videos. Often you can check out a few episodes online to see what DVD works best for your family. Many can be downloaded for under $2 per episode. Here are a few examples that my kiddos have loved and learned while loving them.
from the Eyewitness series: Based on the amazing DK Eyewitness books, this series will fascinate the whole family... my kids started with the "Pond and River" DVD [under $10].
from television: Try Discovery Channel's Time Warp Season 1- two DVDs [10 episodes on each]..$13. Each episode the hosts film common and uncommon actions in super slow motion and give us a peek at what happens too fast for the human eye to see. Whether it is an arrow piercing and breaking a row of 3 water balloons, a simple drop of water, a pool shot, or any of the other ideas... this series is going to surprise everyone. If that doesn't sound like something your kids will like browse around...The Discovery Channel will have something else to entice even the most stubborn... "Mythbusters," "How Its Made" or "How Do They Do It?" are my kids' long-time favorites!
Try a travel series: We got "South Africa" from Questar's Best of Travel series, but there are all kinds of travel DVDs so I suggest renting these before buying to be sure the narration style and degree of detail fits the age and interest of your children. [My kids loved replaying over and over the "Safari" section but would fast forward through some of the description of Cape Town]
Note: I got each of these for about $10 used, but even new they are between $15-$20.
I am a lifelong educator, writer and author, a foster, bio, and adoptive parent, happy mom of five daughters, Grandma to six, Nana to four, and church and theater musician. Oh yes, and all-round optimistic, crazy lady.