This is a post by contributing writer Tabitha
In our home right now, the kids are nuts about Phineas and Ferb, a relatively recent Disney show that involves two young boys doing larger than life projects for fun during the summer and their older sister trying to get them in trouble. I love that this show always involves family time together. It also is a show that has something for everyone.
It’s dangerously hot outside. We’ve done chores. We’ve had active play. We have a sick child. We’ve got a baby who needs nursing. We’ve read books. So we sit down and watch something on the TV, sometimes Netflix, sometimes on DVD/BluRay, sometimes live TV like the History Channel. Right now a favorite is Phineas and Ferb (with their pet platypus, of all things.)
Now, I’m not a big fan of watching TV. However, what are we learning from this silly summer show?
- film noir
- project oriented learning
- setting goals
- geography fun
- impossibilities but fun to try on a smaller scale
- nerds and bullies
- social situations
- making a new language
- good versus evil
- every day life situations
- different cultures
- history fun
- and the list goes on…
The best part about it, even though the kids know that most of the projects and activities Phineas and Ferb complete are sheer imagination, it sparks an interest in doing something of their own rather than sit around doing nothing.
The younger ones pretend to be Phineas and Ferb (or Perry) and be spies, build things, annoy their sisters (oh wait, that’s not from the show…), plan future projects, be bad or good guys, and pretend their hearts out.
The older ones are curious about the physics, songs, building projects, and advanced mathematics hinted at in the shows and find out more. They even look up words they don’t know.
The baby likes the colors.
I have found this to be true of any show the kids have been fascinated by over the years. I can go back in time with my kids and fondly remember Bob the Builder, Blue’s Clues (still a favorite, actually), Sesame Street, Toy Story (all 3), princess movies, and many others. I see no harm in this unless my kids actually only watch it and then do nothing else with it other than watch it again. And again. And again.
Instead, we play, we learn, we read, we study, and we try things ourselves.
In this house, we GO and DO, not SIT and WATCH. Now if I can only keep them from wanting to imitate the MythBusters…