Well, the summer vacation is upon us, and so, as a parent, you are praying that they will spend more time outside than in the house! But, there's one thing that you can't always bank on, the weather. If it decides to rain for the vast majority of the summer months, what are you going to do? Of course, you've got your own things to get on with, but you need to ensure that you have adequate entertainment. Kids can get bored so easily but also, so can you, which is why, you need an abundance of entertainment on hand.
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One of the greatest things ever invented, when it comes to placating children, is the TV. But of course, we don't want our kids to sit in front of the television all day, glued to something that has no real value. So, let's pick out some kids entertainment that will entertain, but also throws in educational value. Because, kids know when they are being educated, so it's important to be very subtle in what you pick. So, what are the best things for kids to watch that is sneaking in this little bit of education?
Arguably one of the greatest Pixar movies of all time, this seemingly simple tale of a family who move across country, and the son is struggling to find his way in the world, gives way to what's actually going on inside his brain. For the parents, if you are trying to watch something that doesn't make you want to fall asleep, but the kids are enjoying it immensely, this is one of the best choices. In essence, it's like a little psychology lesson. Well, in fact, it's quite a big psychology lesson. Probably one of the most intelligent movies that come out in recent years, and it's one for kids!
Yes, you might feel that if you hear “Let It Go” one more time, your head is going to explode, but this tale is not just entertainment for the whole family, but if you've got daughters, it teaches a very good lesson about feminism. The issue with Disney movies years ago is that the focus was on the masculine part of society, rather than the feminine. Women were portrayed as weak and needing their Prince Charming, whereas now, thanks to movies like Pocahontas and Frozen, these stories are showing women as strong, independent, and fierce archetypes. And although your daughter may very well be into princesses and pink, the strong female role models in this film seeps in very subtly. And besides, who doesn't like Olaf?
Gnomeo And Juliet
Yes, for you, the Elton John soundtrack might prove entertaining enough, but if you want your kids to get a little taste of Shakespeare, this is the best approach. Your kids may be too young for Shakespeare, but, years from now, when they inevitably study Romeo and Juliet in school, they will already have an understanding of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. And, just so you know, it does not come with a suicidal finale that we all know from Shakespeare’s original!
The Lion King
Following on from Gnomeo and Juliet, this self-styled “Hamlet with furs” is essential children's watching, despite the somewhat mature themes. In fact, The Lion King is essential watching for the vast majority of us now, and while it's a great watch for parents and kids alike, these somewhat heavy dramatic themes are things that can prepare your kids for certain things that may happen when they are older. Of course, we don't like to think about this, but, in hindsight, it's very daring for what Disney to have done this so long ago. Before The Lion King, Bambi was the only Disney movie to feature a gruesome death. And while you may want to think twice about exposing a very young child to the movie, especially as now, the premium HD packages the vast majority of us have can make the imagery a little too clear, there are lighter moments in the movie, such as Timon and Pumbaa to offset the heavy dramatic nature.
A brilliant movie, and one that doesn't get discussed as much as other big Pixar ventures. As far as encouraging your children to eat different types of food is concerned, Ratatouille may prove to be something that helps tip the balance. The story of the young mouse who rises to the top of the culinary ladder is fantastic entertainment, as all Pixar movies are, to parents and children alike. But the great thing about Ratatouille in terms of its themes is that food is not something that is committed to film easily. The director, Brad Bird, had previously done The Incredibles which translated the comic superhero to screen at a time before Marvel popularized it, and here, the topic of food and working in a restaurant is a fantastic way to introduce your children to the idea of making their own food and trying different things. As every parent knows, it's an absolute nightmare to try and get your children to eat something that's good for them, and now, for the first time, they're seeing a film that explicitly shows great foods and what can be done with it. This could very be the turning point, the spark that is set off in your kids’ brain that they want to try something exotic!
It's important, when picking the movies you want your kids to watch, that the educational aspect isn't shoved down their throats. Children want entertaining; they don't want to learn, especially during the summer months. If you can do it in such a subtle way that they don't even notice it's a win-win situation! As a result, you can get on with what you need to do, and your child is watching a film that is exposing them to intelligent themes. And while the vast majority of this list consists of Pixar, don't underestimate the other great movies out there, even films like The Goonies from the 80s can teach your kids about teamwork. As far as educating your kids throughout the summer is concerned, movies might very well be the best way to do it.