Netflix is a great resource in times like these. With endless tv shows and movies, keeping kids busy has never been easier. However, the all too familiar debate around screen time plays in the back of your mind and you start to wonder if you need to start hiding the remote. Don’t fear, desperate times call for desperate measures – however we can get creative and make it work!
Promoting healthy screen time habits during a lockdown seems like an impossible task! Locked up in your home, with little or zero access to the outdoors and recreational activities, Netflix and Showmax have became familiar friends we seem to visit daily.
TV, video games, internet and social media can be excellent sources of education and entertainment for kids. But too much screen time can have unhealthy side effects. Between online classes, Zoom chats, reading programs and social media – limiting screen time has becoming a thing of the past as we seem to have no choice but to engage with these platforms in order to promote learning, continuity and connection!
However, the point of this article is not to guilt trip you into watching less tv and playing more board games, instead, we would like to open your mind to realize the educational potential of Netflix and how it can be used to promote learning and creativity!
Here are some great games and ideas to promote education, connection and learning skills while watching your Netflix favorites!
It is important for kids to read books which they find interesting in order to create meaning and build understanding. Home libraries usually take some time to build and we may sometimes find ourselves scrambling to find reading materials for our kids to engage with. Instead of skipping reading altogether, mute the audio of their favorite show and put on the subtitles. You have now turned their favorite Netflix show into a reading activity (one they are sure to enjoy!).
2. STORY TIME
It is important that when kids watch TV, they engage with the story and its characters. Pick an episode of their favorite show, jump to the middle of the story and watch for 5 minutes. Ask your kids what they think happened before this scene and how do they think it will end (they can also write it down if you want to incorporate writing skills). Now watch the whole story from beginning to end. Acknowledge whoever got close to the story line but also reward whoever was the most creative!
3. SLOW MO- MOVIE BINGO
A classic game meets a modern, Netflix twist. Pick a film you watched the night before and create a bingo card of different objects/scenes in the film (include objects that don’t appear in the story too). Print out one for each of your kids and challenge them to find the right order of appearance of each object/scene on their card as the movie unfolds. This will encourage your kids to pay attention to detail and sort relevant information from irrelevant details (this activity will also avoid zombie like tv watchers).
4. PAUSED – THE ALPHABET GAME
This game involves pausing a movie/series 3-5 times as you identify and spell different words of different things you see on the screen. Print out an alphabet bingo sheet with enough space to write words under each letter. Promote spelling and word retrieval by writing as many objects under the right letter as seen on the screen in one minute. Once time is up, pass your page to someone else to mark and remember, spelling counts! Do this a couple of times as you watch the story. The person who wrote the most words, with correct spelling – wins!
Alternatively, for younger viewers who can’t yet write or spell – pause and play a game of eye spy.
5. THE OSCAR REVIEW
And for the older kids, encourage them to write a movie review! This movie review is their access pass/movie ticket which qualifies them to watch another movie later in the week. The movie review worksheet should include detailing the genre of the movie, a description of the plot, characters, favorite scene, their opinion of the movie and a recommendation. No review – no movie ticket.
Feel free to get in touch with us if you need help to make these resources for your next guilt-free-Netflix-TV time!