Fly off on a Learning Adventure with Dragon Tales!
Dragon Tales is an animated fantasy adventure series designed to nurture young children's love of learning and help prepare them for entering school. Children delight in joining Emmy, her brother Max, and their friend Enrique on their exciting visits to Dragon Land-a magical place with Singing Springs, Knuckerholes, Bursting Blossoms, and dragons! Throughout their adventures, Emmy, Max, and their dragon friends help each other learn to get along, cope with fears, and discover new ways to deal with the challenges they encounter. Hispanic culture plays a prominent role through the introduction of folk stories, songs, music and children's games, and Enrique-a new character who speaks both Spanish and English! By presenting characters who model positive strategies for coping with challenges common among preschoolers, Dragon Tales supports young children's readiness to learn.
Dragon Tales is designed with three primary educational goals that encourage young children to:
- Pursue challenging experiences that support their growth and development: Dragon Tales characters express keen interest in things and ideas, take pleasure in figuring things out and are, if not enthusiastic at first, willing to try!
- Recognize there are many ways to approach challenges, solve problems and learn from those experiences: Dragon Tales characters ask useful questions, draw on their own knowledge, use trial and error, consider and choose different approaches, and ask for help.
- Understand that to try and not succeed fully is a natural and valuable part of learning: Dragon Tales characters model persistence; they care about and support one another, and celebrate small and partial victories as they venture in the world.
Ideas for Viewing
To get the most educational value from Dragon Tales, watch with children and make viewing an active experience.
Ask open-ended questions that encourage children to:
- Use Dragon Tales to reflect on challenges they've faced: "How did you learn to be patient and take turns?"
- Predict what might happen next: "How do you think the gang will find their way through the Forest of Darkness?"
- Think about what they see and hear on the show: "What do you think about the way the friends helped Enrique feel welcome?"
In addition to engaging children in meaningful conversations, invite them to:
- Sing and dance along during the musical segments;
- Problem-solve along with the characters;
- Imitate and role-play the positive actions and behaviors of the characters;
- Participate in related activities in the classroom.
Ideas for Using Dragon Tales in the Classroom
Bring the learning from Dragon Tales into your classroom by connecting what children have seen on the show to your curriculum and related hands-on activities. Below are a few ideas to get you started. The Dragon Tales pages on the PBSKIDS Web site offer even more fun and innovative ways to engage children and enrich the learning opportunities in your classroom. Use your own creativity to develop and incorporate related activities into your curriculum, always keeping in mind the unique needs and interests of your children.
- Emmy, Max, Cassie, Ord and the other Dragon Tales characters model exuberance, playfulness and persistence when approaching intellectual tasks.
- Engage children in games where they need to listen carefully and pay attention, as in "Simon Says," or follow specific directions as they might for a scavenger hunt. Help children devise different strategies to meet the challenges posed by the games.
- Related online game: Treasure Hunt Maze
- During each ½ hour episode, two intriguing Dragon Tales stories unfold for young viewers. The words used, topics addressed and the distinct beginning, middle and ending of each story provides rich early literacy opportunities for children.
- Invite children to make up their own stories. Use Dragon Tales or children's own experiences to get started. Encourage children to use their imaginations and descriptive words to embellish their tales.
- Related lesson plan: Story Tellers
- In every Dragon Tales segment, the characters face a variety of situations where they learn to cope with fears and begin to understand and express their emotions, and those of others.
- Encourage children to name their emotions as they experience them, and use words to describe how they feel. Create a Book of Emotions: Have children draw pictures of different feelings, label them and describe when they feel the emotion, as in, "I feel grumpy when it's raining."
- Related lesson plan: In Your Dragon Shoes
- The adventures in Dragon Tales often highlight beginning math concepts through challenging games that encourage the characters to use and strengthen their knowledge of numbers.
- Emphasize the math in everyday activities: Count the number of steps from the swings to the slide; Create graphs of information, such as children's favorite snacks; Measure objects and compare their sizes; Play Rummy, Go Fish and other card games.
- Related online game: The Dragon Fair (Flash required)
Music, Dance and Art
- The lively music and dance segments, along with the art often featured in the Dragon Tales storylines, all demonstrate the power of creativity to engage and educate young viewers.
- Offer children markers and encourage them to draw pictures of themselves dancing with their Dragon Tales friends. Provide paints and have children recreate their favorite Dragon Land scenes.
- Related online game: Zak & Wheezie's Music Machine!
- Many of the challenges faced by the Dragon Tales characters are physical, such as learning to ride a bike, catch and jump rope. As they face these challenges the characters are encouraged to look beyond physical limitations and accept differences in everyone's abilities.
- Engage children in fun individual and team-based physical challenges. Emphasize the importance of teamwork and children's personal bests to avoid competitive comparisons, and always celebrate their efforts!
- Related offline activity: Sky Soccer
- Dragon Tales depicts compassionate characters who discover how to get along with others, resolve conflicts, learn patience, and develop empathy. Through it all, the characters demonstrate caring and sensitivity toward their friends.
- Provide children with meaningful opportunities to cooperate and encourage them as they learn to solve problems together. Offer puppets, dress-up clothes and other props so children can explore different social roles and situations through play acting.
- Related lesson plan: Hand-In-Hand
Understanding and Appreciating Differences and Similarities
- The uniqueness of each Dragon Tales character is celebrated in the diversity of their physical, emotional and intellectual abilities. Hispanic culture, heritage and customs are also highlighted.
- Encourage children to discuss, write and draw about their families' culture, heritage and traditions. Hold a multicultural potluck and invite children to share a family dish. (Be aware of potential food allergies, share this information with the families and adjust recipes as needed.) Point out the differences and similarities among the children and their families using language that celebrates and demonstrates an understanding of the value of diversity.
- Related online game: Finn's Toys/Los Juguetes de Finn
Reading Related Books is another wonderful way to reinforce what children have seen on Dragon Tales and extend the learning into your classroom. Visit the Resources section of the Parents & Teachers pages for book suggestions. Also in the Parents & Teachers section, you'll find informational resources for teachers and even more Dragon Tales activity ideas!
Fly off on a learning adventure with Dragon Tales! Watch this award-winning program with children then extend the learning beyond the television through creative classroom lessons, engaging hands-on activities, fun and interactive on-line games, printable coloring pages, and recommended books.
Published: February 2005