My never ending search for good quality science-fiction and fantasy materials to explore with my kids continues. I often find this to be a giant gap area in young children’s literature, Pinterest activity boards, and preschool science curriculum.
Is it too much to hope for high quality kids stuff about alien planets… time travel… future societies… robot invasions… wormholes…
Where is all the science fiction to enjoy and devour in tandem with the science fact? I want the SCIENCE FICTION METHOD.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PRESCHOOLERS AND SCIENCE FICTION
1. Young kids are more interested in learning about the world around them, not fantasy
I call this the Montessori myth, which no offense to the teaching method, but there is this notion that kids long to be “miniature adults”. Only that seems to just apply to using tools, cleaning supplies, cooking, and daddy’s iPhone.
Somehow this interest in being a mini-you ends there and does not extend into all the science fiction movies, comics, books, and characters you potentially geek out on. No way!
2. All adults really want is the head nod to science fiction characters they like
The Pixar effect. We are spoiled by shows and movies that give the adults a “head nod” while entertaining the kids. And that is great, but sometimes I think this leads to the plush-ification of Science Fiction without truly making age appropriate Science Fiction content.
Do we need a 3 year old version of Star Wars? Maybe. But I think if we are going to do that, then it should actually tell the story in a simple storybook form, rather than bringing the characters into a world of bedtime stories, ice cream, and toy stores.
3. A basic understanding of science is needed first
4. Science fiction and fantasy in and of themselves are not educational
I disagree strongly on the last two counts. They are related.
As we continue to delay the introduction of science education in America as other cultures move it into daily elementary school classrooms, I’m equally afraid that people don’t feel empowered to talk about science fiction with their kids prior to their “tweens”.
Can’t growing an interest in science fiction and fantasy jettison conversations about the details of science fact?
Why do we teach kids the planets in our solar system without talking about what life would have to be like to be on them?
Why not let kids pretending to be superheroes know more about the physics, anatomy, and basic evolution of their favorite heroes?
And I’m still convinced that no preschool history lesson can be complete without some imaginative play around time travel?
While my husband craves a less family-friendly version of Doctor Who, I crave actually want the equivalent of Muppet babies and a TARDIS…
IT’LL HAPPEN, MARK MY WORDS, BUT IN THE MEANTIME…
I am just going to keep on making my own crazy junior science-fiction content, and stay on the lookout for really good books, TV shows, movies, and websites. There are enough other geeky parents out there that soon I am sure I will be inundated with options.
Here are some of my favorites (PLEASE SHARE YOURS):
- Allistair’s Time Machine
- Allistair and the Alien Invasion
- Blast Off Boy and Blorp
- Mr. Wuffles
- Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed The World
- Oh No! Not Again! Or How I Built A Time Machine To Save History