Many of you more seasoned folks might answer the above question with “Carmen Sandiego!”--this being the best-selling game franchise in the 1980s and ‘90s. It taught kids about geography, culture, and diversity in a fun, appealing way that didn’t even seem like learning (the best kind of learning is like this!). Part of why kids are drawn to games like this is that geography, culture, and diversity are brought to life! It is similar to Historical Fiction and is the difference between something being 3-Dimensional (more real) and 2-Dimensional (less real, flat).
Another form of 3-Dimensional learning is active, engaging discussion. When two or more individuals are exchanging—even debating—ideas, the discussions can bring a topic to life, bring it closer to home (see Fifteen Benefits of Discussion-Elon University: https://www.elon.edu/docs/e-web/academics/teaching/tlconference/handout%20inclusive%20discussions%20TL%20conf.pdf). This, in turn, makes everything more personal and interesting, and, like Carmen Sandiego doesn’t seem like learning. For example, a hurricane can sound bad when reading about it in the newspaper or online. However, once you see pictures and videos of it online or on TV, it touches us a bit more. If we then hear reporters talking about it or actual victims of the storm being interviewed, then we are gaining even more insight into the event and issues—often in real time. Thus, a simple story about a storm hitting a town suddenly becomes better understood through dialogue and pictures, which enriches the story and brings the listener closer to it.
Involving your children in current event topics can be a wonderful way to educate—both you and your kids—while encouraging them to continually learn! It doesn’t matter if the discussion is about politics, a human-interest story, natural disasters, or the latest news on coronavirus. The important thing is to engage your kids in stories that speak to them and to share tidbits of information (facts) that you have read or heard. If you do this on a regular basis, you most likely will begin to see your kids trying to initiate conversations about things they’ve read or heard. They may even find themselves delving deeper into specific stories to learn more! The best part is, it can be engaging for both the adults and the children, and it can develop a lifelong love of learning! So, tune in to your favorite newsfeed, news channel, or newspaper and find some stories of interest to share with your kids!