When you love Netflix, you really love Netflix. It might happen gradually, it might happen overnight but it will happen and when it does it’s easy to appreciate the amazing learning potential that exists in the combination of a medium that’s often relegated to the ‘mindless entertainment’ category, with the tangible, precious experience of books and the modern luxury of the world at our fingertips à la Google.
It’s enough to blow little (and big!) minds in a quiet way that sneaks up on you and creates educational experiences in your living room when all you’re looking for is 5 minutes of peace and some downtime for your overtired little ones after school.
And that is the Netflix Effect.
The Magic Schoolbus series of books were handed down to Ethan by one of my cousins many years ago. He never even looked at them, to be honest, but we kept them and they were eventually relocated to Nixie’s bookshelf. He discovered them earlier this year and they’ve since become a bedtime staple. Mrs Frizzle and the class have introduced Nix to phytoplankton and zooplankton, the water cycle and decomposition, the concepts of water pressure and air pressure – these are my least faves to be honest! I used to groan when these (l o n g) books would be chosen night after night, and I do have to skim read a little here and there, but, like Nixon, I’m now a fan of the Magic Schoolbus.
I’ve written before about his peculiar viewing habits; the thought of watching a movie sends him running for the hills, and trying to introduce new shows is like pulling teeth. He simply likes what he likes. Luckily, he LOVES watching The Magic School Bus on Netflix. I say ‘luckily’ because there are four seasons of the early series as well as the first season of the Netflix Original, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, streaming now. Dave, Ethan and I have been desperate for some new ‘Nixon approved’ content to beef up his current obsession, the single series of the fishing show, Chasing Monsters. If you need to know what ‘noodling for catfish’ means, I’d recommend you watch this lol.
The combination of mixing our quiet, bedtime reading routine with the Magic School Bus content on Netflix has seen Nixon’s interest in the world around him multiply so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. A conversation about volcanoes over the weekend quickly moved to windows. We finally caught up with his busy little brain and realised the connection he was making between rock and sand being heated by lava and the manufacture of glass from silica.
TV, (or should I say, the ability to watch digital content on a television or device) is so much more than the Saturday morning cartoons and Coronation St we grew up with. Moving away from the negative screen-time paradigm and making choices around the content your kids are watching can provide some awesome and very entertaining educational opportunities for the entire family.