Typically, my son watches no television and is essentially screen-free. Enter 2020 and COVID-19. Our “typical” failed to remain. Seriously though, whose did?
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
When life shut down, we did, also. Our daughter’s sports and son’s clubs canceled and with that, so did our son’s friends. While others still got together for playdates, we truly kept away and he is a bit young for Zoom calls.
Welcome back, YouTube and electronics.
We talked with our son’s occupational therapist and explained how this was his sole connection with society. She agreed it is a unique time and we’d work it out later. In the meantime, we have stumbled upon some pretty cool STEM-type YouTube channels that we’ll continue to watch during remote learning this school year.
The host of The Spangler Effect also has a show called DIY SCI on Amazon. He completes a plethora of STEM experiments, some of which can be replicated at home. Throughout the videos, he describes the reason behind the science.
AumSum has hundreds of videos to click through. We actually discovered this channel before our hiatus from electronics. Years later, our son repeated facts he heard from this channel in random conversations (why Pop Rocks pop, for instance). There definitely is a video for every interest.
Ants found themselves at the forefront of our son’s brain during the shutdown. This is likely from all the times we sent him outside to get fresh air and take a break from his sister. Naturally, this YouTube channel was a hit. The creator tapes his ants while explaining what they are doing in nature-channel-esque fashion. In some of his videos, he explores more than ants, while in others, he creates terrains.
If you want to be inspired to create a class-act marble run, this is the STEM channel for you. The creator fashions Olympics with his marble runs, taping and ranking each marble as it goes through an obstacle course worthy of internet fame. For a solid month after watching these marble runs, my son pulled out his Legos and packed-away blocks, designing his own courses.
This YouTuber invented a variety of obstacles for his hamsters. Some of the videos include bloopers at the very end, showing newly-inspired youngsters that it doesn’t always go right with animals or engineering. After watching these little hamsters weave their way through the mazes, our son asked if we could get a hamster one day. To all those hamster-parents out there, this channel may inspire your kiddo to play with his/her pet once again.
While Jelle’s Marble Runs actually uses real marbles, Crazy Marble Run is all done through computer animation. Each member of our family picked a color and then watched to see whose color made it to the next round. While I found myself falling asleep waiting for each puzzle to complete, the kids remained entertained.
It’s okay to take a moment. Our routine is still not back. Who knows how long until it will be. Until that point of time, I find ways to help my kids feel connected to the world while simultaneously following protocols as best as possible. That means there are some trade-offs.
With electronics, even if STEM centered, comes a running-on-high child. Yet, we can work through that since the rest of life has slowed. We take breaks and note the shows that cause what we call “spinning” or a “revved-up motor.” If the show is educational and inspires exploration, this is a win in our books.
During what is the most bizarre moment and school year of most of our lives, try to find value in this gift of the internet. What can unquestionably have negatives can also reveal some solid finds. It’s okay to give a little right now… you may discover something you want to keep in the future.