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Julian Blanco

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Can you share the best content you found for your kids: books, music, films, games, toys, apps, etc.

I think that parental presence and focus is the most fundamental aspect of education, but I also consider the need of good content to share, promote debate, cultivate taste, etc.
I would love to hear what the TED community feeds their kids. (I don’t care about the language)
I have two daughters and I’m struggling to find content for them. (we have a large screen but no TV)

I don’t want:
Violent
Commercial
Pro Consumerism
Adult
Stereotypical
Shallow

I want:
Positive
Imaginative
Colorful
Open
Diverse
Emotive
Funny
Constructive
Beautiful
Creative
Different
(things I can enjoy with them)

Thanks!

JB

PS I'll share my current list as a post
PS2 my daughters are 1month old and 2 years old, but I the question is open to any age

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  • Jul 7 2011: Julian, I am the mother of a 9 year old. i had a set of philosophy when she was a baby but i changed all that as she grew up and i started seeing where her interests were. for instance the chances of classical music went out the window in utero when she would kick me constantly if i turned on classical music. rock music and a few kicks here and there. as a baby she showed by crying what her favourite music was.

    i have felt leading a lifestyle which kinda totes my own lifestyle has really helped her be who she is. which means she was on the computer at 3 months old pounding on the keyboard as i worked from home. she watched movies as i watched movies. she watched commercials. in the newspaper box she saw pictures of guns.

    i protected her a little bit, but not a lot. living in a bubble has not been a good thing for her. she is a social curious child. watching ninja turtle at 4 she asked 'well if we kill the bad guys how are we different from them?" seeing a commercial for foundation for beautiful skin at 4 she asked me 'but what's the point of putting that on ma? its only temporary. and what's wrong with your skin mama? i think you look beautiful as you are." our children are far wiser than we think they are.

    so dont change your world to suit your children. that is the biggest disservice you could do them. welcome them into your world and show them what your world looks like.

    the most important is empty your mind and what you want for your babies. listen and watch what they want. that's when i discovered my daughter loved rhyme and i read them to her from all sources even if they werent quite child proof like Ogden Nash. i tried good messages, she would have none. she wanted mystery and adventure even at 2.

    and yes - my child NEVER got into legos. but she crawled over to the cat food tins and those were her blocks and legos.

    skip the books sometimes. tell stories. stories of you as a child, family. that is history and something they always love hearing.
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    Apr 30 2011: Books:
    Reinações de Narizinho vol. 1 by Monteiro Lobato
    Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein
    Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Apr 25 2011: The best content you can provide your children is the narrative of your own life experience. Your daughters will remember those stories and use them as templates for their own lives. Likewise, you can interject your own knowledge through their observations, questions and inquiries. If they share an event from their life or describe an experience, turn that into a teachable moment. For example, if your daughter notices that Spring is early this year, explain global warming; if they ask about the shape of snowflakes, explain the structure of a water molecule; when they're sick, show them You Tube videos of white blood cells in the immune system (I've done this). Share YOUR knowledge with your daughters, and they'll learn to listen, think and learn...I can still remember my parents stories...can you?
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      Apr 28 2011: Hi Robin!

      I loved the youtube example! And I agree with you regarding the approach.
      By no means I’m implying that content can replace a dedicated parent, but I do think, like in your youtube example, that external content has an important role, it can trigger discussion, play, curiosity, etc, it can educate taste and sensibility, it can bring new and different perspectives, etc.
      I can remember stories my parent told me, with my older daughter I learned that I still remember word by word the poetry my mother recited to me, and I also remember many more stories from other people, not as conscious effort but as an spontaneous memory coming back when needed.

      Thanks for your post!

      JB
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    Apr 16 2011: Toys:
    build your own toys (website with pictures and instructions):
    http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/toys.html#
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      Apr 17 2011: Hi Horst:

      Look great, I'll try it,

      Thanks!!!

      JB
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    Apr 16 2011: Here goes the first draft of my list:
    Films:
    Baraka (Documentary, US)
    Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli (Anime, Japan)
    le marche de l’empereur (Documentary, France)

    Music:
    Sergei Prokofiev, Peter and the Wolf (Russia)
    Malicorne, Almanach (France)
    Pro Musica de Rosario (Argentina and the world)
    Maria Elena Walsh (Argentina)
    Piccolo saxo et compagnie Petite histoire d'un grand orchestre (France)

    Books:
    Asterix (France)
    Mafalda by Quino (Argentina)
    Ferdinand (US)
    Le petit prince (France)
    O homem que calculava (Brasil)

    Toys:
    LEGO (Denmark)

    Games:
    TEG (Argentina)
    Aquire (US)
    Zargo’s Lords (Italy)
    Chess
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    Jul 23 2011: Our 2 & 4 yr olds love boowa et kwala! They are available in English and French at uptoten.com
    What we especially like is the "chansons non-stop" feature that plays cute musical videos one after the next toute en francais or en English if you prefer.

    We also make trips to the local public library to pick our books and movies together. It's a special bonus when you go to the dvd setup portion and find multiple languages!
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    Apr 29 2011: http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/teaching.html
    (How to teach stuff)
    http://www.teachhub.com/news/article/cat/14/item/323
    (100+ Google Tricks for Teachers)
    http://t4.jordan.k12.ut.us/teacher_resources/
    (teaching through technology)
    http://learnweb.harvard.edu/alps/thinking/gettingready_infusiond.cfm
    (Ways of critical thinking)
    http://ecologyofeducation.net/wsite/?p=2555
    (Teacher's field guide to parents)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/things-you-really-need-to_b_788989.html
    (Things you need to learn)
    http://www.freedomunplugged.com/motivation-inspiration/50-questions-that-will-free-your-mind/
    (50 questions that will free your mind [critical thought])
    http://www.criticalthinking.org/
    (obvious)
    http://www.wonderhowto.com/
    (Science made fun and simple)
    http://www.coerll.utexas.edu/methods/
    (foreign language teaching methods)
    http://www.documentary-log.com/
    (Free documentaries)
    http://www.davehitt.com/blog2/never-talk-to-the-police/
    (tactics to not being bullied by police)
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504784_162-20058382-10391705.html
    (simple explanation of Dark Matter [which is said to be 20 percent of our universe])
    http://www.humorsharing.com/interlocked/1086/
    (3-D puzzle game)
    http://nintendo8.com/toplist/more/
    (original 8 bit Nintendo games)
    http://www.ehow.com/how_5081240_easily-bites-one-single-step.html
    (the website is great, but this article should be read by EVERYONE)


    I got more links to anything anyone could want, just be specific and I'll post them.

    Also, parents, since education systems DO NOT teach critical thought values, you must take the time and energy to do so for the benefit of their future!
  • Apr 29 2011: + "plume le petit ours polaire" (French, maybe traducted) nice pictures book and video. good messages for young children.

    + stuff who helps to learn -> language, encyclopedies reading pleasure,

    + maths -> simple statistics for playing with random, geometry with paper folding (origami)(see here in ted), algebra with cooking

    +créativity with modelling clay (making it and using it), plaster -> making better toys than comercials by choosing colors, textures, ...
    and later, robotics, programming

    + monopoly, games about economy

    + knowing what is really secure and what is not (many adults are nor really aware).
    Self-medication(tisane for example) and dietetics for the big need of knowing what doing and what not
    anatomy for savety


    Please excuse my english, i am learning it (with ted) .
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    Apr 27 2011: The best content is deliberate, purposive, yet safe, enjoyable TIME with you, referring to both parents, if possible; also such time with other people. Time to listen to her stories and tell yours.. Time to talk about anything under the sun; Time together, to walk or play or run.. Time to laugh or cry together, or just hang out and have fun. To watch good stuff together, to build sand castles or create music together; time to see reality, those in need, and together do somethinghelp. Time to ask the right questions, and capture every opportunity, joys or grief, highs or lows, that our children may discover (aha!!!), learn more about him/herself, others, and about the world around us. To discover his/her innate talents and unique creative or other capacities, to strengthen such talents and deploy them for the common good; not to smother and kill those innate strengths, for our own agendas or worse, for someone else's. To learn about timeless principles, like seed, time and harvest, or foundational values like honesty, truth, integrity, justice, freedom, dedication and pursuit of personal excellence, creative innovation, delayed gratification, but above all love: for God, self, family and neighbor. To learn how to discover by one's self. We want for them, what we want for ourselves: to find our corner of the sky.. where our spirits can run FREE, and be the best we can be, for ourselves and for others. Observe, test, but find out who they are wired to be.. Find real, innate TALENT. Then design their life "curriculum" to hone this, develop & deploy this to bless the world. The difficulty is school, government, media, church, as we know them, have simply FAILED to help us raise our children into the awesome artists, leaders, heroes they are created to be. The difficulty is that modeling, mentoring and above all experience, are the best forms of teaching, and that basically means we need to improve ourselves beyond the person/s we want our child to become.
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      Apr 28 2011: Hi Joseph:

      Thanks for your post!
      I agree with the first part of your statement, until you said god… god is not on my curriculum.
      I also agree that you can’t transmit something you are not so parenting is a call for self improvement, and also for humility by letting other people show other ways to get things done.
      And yes it is stressful to go against popular discourse and media when raising children…

      Regards!

      JB
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    Apr 17 2011: The stuff inside you is all they need. Take the time to show it, share it and talk about it (as they get older). No book or film or toy can replace that.
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      Apr 28 2011: Hi Scott:

      I think I agree regarding your intention but not on your exact words.
      From my perspective kids need more things, they need a father, but they also need a mother, rest of the family, friends, etc.
      Apart from that I’m not a musician, and music is something to enjoy, sadly I don’t have Vivaldi in me, nor I have One Thousand and One Nights, etc.
      I think my question was not properly expressed, I’m not aiming at finding things that will relieve from my parental role, I’m looking for thinks to expand their world view (in some cases guided).
      The world is flooded with content, I find most of it annoying in the best scenario, I want to counter valance that external pressure with good quality content.
      Hope I’m more clear (and that you agree).
      Thanks for your post!

      JB
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    Apr 17 2011: Since birth I have always sung to my daughters and my wife and I read to them. Well, one is now 15 so sitting by her bed singing might not go down so well, unless I rap a nursery rhyme. I am convinced though, that in part because of that my 15 year old loves to read still and is very good at languages in school. My 4 year old will usually take a bedtime story over TV. She is also very advanced for her age in language.

    We watched animations like Arthur, Dora The Explorer, Winnie the Pooh. I love TV but we try to stick to fun things with a message and some learning.

    Both the girls could count to ten in Spanish and English at an early age. I know none of this is Mensa stuff but being exposed to good material no matter what the medium is always positive. After all they take it all in why not teach them a language at an early age?
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      Apr 28 2011: Hi Lee!

      Thanks for your comment.
      I read to my oldest daughter every night before he goes to sleep, I enjoy that a lot.
      Winnie the Pooh is on my list to review.
      Regarding language we speak Spanish at home and we live in Brazil so they are exposed to Portuguese, while we also read to them and a few other activities in English. I totally agree with you that is better to learn languages early.

      Regards!

      JB