Entertaining (Educating?) Kids at Home

Hey Tint Fam, today’s blog post is from Team LT’s Neilesh, who writes about entertaining kids at home during this time...

Working from home daily is disorienting enough, but adding in children who are out of school, feels like being surprised on a reality TV cooking show with a secret ingredient you’ve never even heard of. A video rant from an Israeli mother of four captures it pretty dead-on:

Thankfully, my son is not at an age that includes remote lesson planning and homework assignments. That said, I feel a need to include educational activities in all the extra time we get to spend together. If he were the responsible party, I would ask only for on-demand snuggles, anytime the current state of the world felt overwhelming. Alas, his patience is limited to a few of those per day.

One activity that we’ve built into our routine is exploring the wonderful world presented in the book MAPS, by Aleksandra Mizielinska (author) and Daniel Mizielinski (illustrator). It’s nostalgic in its own way, thumbing through the pages feels a bit like the game I played as a child, spinning a physical globe with my eyes closed and stopping it to hear my grandfather - a microbiologist with the World Health Organization - tell stories about his travels or what he knew about the culture, food, religion and people of that area. (Side note: lament that the only physical globes I see in people’s houses seem to be those novelty ones that open up into a hidden bar, you can’t even spin properly!)

My worldliness pales in comparison to my grandfather’s, but what’s great about MAPS is it gives the reader a wonderfully layered overview of the regions it covers, and each illustration provides a jumping off point to talk with my son about how diverse our world is. Sure he loves cars, but now he’s intrigued about Fiat production in Italy, Tuk Tuks in Indonesia, and why bicycles are considered part of Dutch culture. 

Right now, his favorite country is Nepal, because of the Snow Leopard - it’s his favorite animal.

Well actually, it’s his dad’s favorite animal but if that gets him to be intrigued about Nepal and why the people there kind of look like him but have a history and culture all to their own, we’ll take it as an invitation to talk about neighbors, languages, climate and our shared world.

And thumbing through the pages gives me little moments of inspiration as well. After exhausting our small set of cookbooks for new recipe ideas last week, we’re using MAPS to consider new options.

Moussaka is on the menu for tomorrow, and taking the moment from when he asks about what the dish is to being intentional in cooking each ingredient has helped us as a family, be appreciative of what we have, and where we can help for those facing more drastic changes in their livelihood, such as our favorite restaurant workers. 

Beyond MAPS, we’ve reached out to extended family and friends to hear how they’re going about entertaining/educating their children. One that we can’t wait to tune in to is Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems - the famed author/illustrator has started a daily YouTube show where he invites you into his drawing studio to chat drawing, writing and everything creative in between. 

Tint Fam, we’d love to hear your ideas for, and challenges with, the new reality many of us are facing - please share in the comments so we can try at home (office)! - Neilesh

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