Children learn by interacting with the people and objects around them. Direct hands-on experiences and repetition, helps children digest and retain information. Public Television series can give you some great ideas for fun and interesting ways to do this. Here are some general tips:
- Plan Activities that Reinforce a Program's Content
If a program takes you to a bird sanctuary you could help your children practice their observation skills by bird watching. (Kratts' Creatures) Encourage your children to start a science log in a notebook. If their writing skills are still developing, drawings are another way to keep track of what they see.
- Link Your Children's Experiences to What Has Been Seen
Point out connections to your children's daily life. For example what did Arthur need to do for his new puppy? (food, water, exercise training.) Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Have your children research how to take care of different kinds of pets (dog, cat, fish, bird.) What does a pet need to keep healthy? If you have a family pet help your children take some responsibility for pet care. A posted check-off sheet is a good reminder.
- Develop Your Children's Critical Viewing Skills
- Explore the difference between fantasy and reality with your children:
- Discuss the use of fantasy in Barney and Wishbone.
- Compare a children's program found on commercial TV with one found on public television.
- Discuss and list the ways people solve conflict in each program. Count the number of acts of violence (hitting, kicking, screaming, abusive language etc.).
- Keep track of how many minutes in a half-hour are spent on commercials and how many minutes on the actual program.
- Discuss commercials with your children. What is the purpose of a commercial? Point out when advertisers make false or exaggerated claims. What qualifying words were used? (An example of qualifying words: This may work for some people.)
- Extend Learning through Art and Dramatic Play
Suggest your children create costumes or puppets to act out a favorite story they have watched on television. Encourage your children to enter the READING RAINBOW Young Writers and Illustrators Contest. (December-April) Email email@example.com for entry forms.
- Extend Learning with Books and Computers
Encourage your children to find books that reinforce themes presented on television programs that they watch. Help them to make connections between the information and characters they like on television and the books you enjoy together.