An educational video may not sound as fun as a cartoon, but if your child is passionate about the topic, it can be well worth the time. No matter your child’s favorite stories or pastimes, there are terrific videos out there that will capture their imagination and fuel their curiosity. Finding the right video family can help.
Find Your Topic
If your child loves dinosaurs, consider looking at educational videos produced by universities with strong paleontology departments. For example, the Sternberg Museum at Fort Hays State University in Fort Hays, Kansas, has plenty of information about the fossils on display there, the dinosaur animatronics, and the fun-loving paleontologists who share these stories.
Science can be amazingly interesting. On the right platform, it can also be a lot of fun. If you’re in the mood for a field trip but COVID-19 has you and your family housebound, consider a virtual visit to the American Museum of Natural History. These videos are a bit more formal and offer guided tours of the many features of this remarkable space.
Follow the Stream of Data
If your child is interested in more modern themes, such as planes or trains, the
Pentrex line of historical and informational videos is a great choice. Once your child is able to dig into the history of the spread of train tracks across the United States, why not dig into how towns on the tracks were affected by the commercial changes created.
For example, train travel made the American West much cheaper to get to and much safer to enjoy. People who would have had to hike to see the mountains of the American West now we’re able to do it from the safety of a train car. Because a schedule had to be kept, the standard time zones were created after the transcontinental railroad was completed. Many of the things we take for granted were brought to us by trains.
Don’t Forget Boats
While the train was spreading from east to west, travel across the United States from north to south was primarily undertaken by steamship. If your child loves boats, a visit to the Great White Arabia Steamship Museum in Kansas City may be in order. Until you can get there, check out the videos that feature the collection, the curators, the people who found the boat, and the process of preserving the contents.
While studying Arabia, older children may enjoy the story of the border wars between Kansas and Missouri that led up to the Civil War. A study of the Army Corps of Engineers and it’s work to alter the watercourses that run up and down the country could also be an interesting virtual field trip.
Much of the history of the United States is told from the seat of power, and many groups are under-represented or completely omitted. If your child is interested in dance, there are many videos that teach movement and dance of different cultures from all over the world. We all have bodies and we’re all impacted by music. The movement to music is, in fact, one of the oldest forms of storytelling we humans share. If you and your family are feeling isolated and alone, studying a video lesson on a dance from halfway around the world can help you feel more connected.
Additionally, seek out videos of visual arts across time. Again, this is how we tell our stories as humans. Luckily, National Geographic has many videos of cave painting sites around the world. We humans may be able to connect quickly thanks to modern technology, but the stories we share are remarkably similar. Cave paintings may show the images of a hunt; we take pictures of our lunch. Cave paintings feature an image of a hand, possibly left by the artist themselves, and we take a selfie with our work. We need to share our stories on whatever medium is close at hand, but only the medium changes.
Educational videos can be a great start to keep kids interested. If they love a particular topic, see what trails you can follow to historical study, to cultural changes and to future expansion. No matter your topic, there are always connection points you can dive into with your child to study how our world continues to expand.