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Creating with Media: Grade Schoolers

Other ages: Preschoolers | Pre-Teens | Teens

Digital media tools — computers, video cameras and smart phone sound recorders — can help your child discover that, as great as it is to be entertained and enjoy somebody else's version of fun, it's even better to enjoy fun that he made himself.

Through the process of making his own productions, your child will begin to appreciate that videos, games apps and TV series do not simply appear; people make them. As a result, his hands-on production experience will influence the way he sees, listens to and plays with media made by other people, allowing him to ask questions about how they were made and why. It also will help him discover that he can be more than a consumer; he can be a web developer, a digital artist, an online storyteller, a game designer, a composer, an app producer or just about any other kind of creator he wants to be.

  • Let your child take a turn if you have a family camera or camcorder, even those on a cell phone.
    Give your child a chance to decide what images should be snapped or recorded. During playback or after the footage has been downloaded, ask your child what he saw and what stories he'd like to tell. To learn more about self-expression and images, check out Literacy Through Photography.
  • Introduce your child to the inner workings of photography by making a pinhole camera.
    Discover together how photographs are made. Check out sites like Oatmeal Box Pinhole Photography or the Pinhole Spy Camera for step-by-step instructions. Ask: How does your picture look like something you've seen on TV, in a book or online? What makes it different?
  • Help your child see game play and social networking sites as opportunities for creative expression.
    Whether it’s selecting an avatar to represent your child’s player onscreen or decking out a profile space, games and social networks are outlets for self-expression. Get your child thinking about these choices, reminding him they need not be permanent as he can change them as her imagination sees fit.
  • Help your child realize that curiosity can lead to creating by checking out official outlets for kids' creations.
    Introduce your child to organizations that feature the creations of kids his age. PBS KIDS GO!, for example, is loaded with opportunities to create and share. Its Writers Contest breaks the mold of fuddy-duddy writing competitions by getting young storytellers experimenting with their pictures and prose.
  • Encourage your child to experiment with language by making up rhymes, learning another language or comparing an oral version of a story to a visual one.
    Take advantage of online sites and TV programs that use rhyming and foreign language activities, making sure that your child has opportunities both to listen and speak. Check out audiotapes from the library or free podcasts that tell a story with words and sounds rather than pictures.
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