This is what Southern NJ looks like right now. Yesterday, a lot of snow fell and I did what every mom of a 3 year old does on a snow day. Try to avoid turning on the TV to entertain him. It is so easy to do. If I turn it on, my son, and probably every other kid in America, will sit and stare and absorb. Hours could go by. I hope this doesn’t come off as judgmental. Believe me, I have turned on the TV as a way to entertain him before. And yesterday, I did give in to this temptation when I had to go shovel my driveway so my husband could drive back home from work. If you use the TV as a survival tactic to get things done you have to get done while your child is entertained, please don’t feel guilty! I certainly don’t.
But it got me thinking. With the world around us full of iPads and TV screens, are our children growing up to be producers or consumers? There are so many apps, so many Youtube videos, so many TV programs that could consume their every waking moment. These aren’t bad things to consume. But are we raising children to consume their fun instead of produce their own fun?
So I broke out the watercolors! We painted for quite a while together, until my son decided it was more fun to paint himself. I let him create his own body art for a while before it was became kitchen-art. That’s when it was time to start cleaning up.
What if there was some way for schools to encourage students to become producers? What if on every snow day, schools gave the assignment to students that they had to create something? (Safety guidelines could be given to prevent any creative but dangerous concoctions at home.) What if schools asked students to go home and do one of the following and bring it to school the next day:
1. Write something! A short short story, a poem, a nonfiction article about something they love, instructions on how to build their newest Lego creation
2. Create a work of art! How about creating a painting, a drawing, a comic book page, or a play-doh sculpture?
3. Cook/bake something! Sometimes food can’t be brought to school, but the student could bring a digital picture of them in the kitchen and they could describe to the class what they created and how it tasted.
4. Build or invent something with building bricks or tools available at home!
What if we put a big emphasis on creating? There is a big maker movement going on right now. What if schools embraced this movement on snow days in particular? I think this would be a great way to use the time to improve the education of all the students sitting at home.