When you put your child in charge of the family camcorder and encourage him to create a program with a theme, subject and purpose, the experience helps him gain strategically useful skills. It also involves him in a project with a meaningful outcome the entire family can share. What he learns—about himself, your family and the process of making a video—can help him excel in the classroom or can even prompt subject matter for a school project.
Bring your young child into the kitchen while you cook a family-favorite dish, bake a cake or pie, or prepare ingredients that require safe handling, such as meat or fish. Your budding videographer can document the process, interview you with questions about why you take the steps you perform and shoot clips of the final result. After he's captured the documentary footage, shoot a quick introduction in which he describes the project and sit down with him at your home computer to edit your cooking show together. Display the edited result on your home theater system and HDTV. If he shows interest in continuing the process with other shows, you may have a budding vlogger or podcaster in the house.
Nationally and internationally, not-for-profit groups establish programs through which family members interview each other, recording recollections of previous generations and times past, anecdotes about turning points in their lives, and perspectives on human as well as family history. If you've been inspired by these programs, suggest that your teen create his own series of remembrances. Whether he formulates questions in advance and conducts an interview, or asks Grandma or Grandpa to reminisce about armed service, family origins or recollections of an historic day, he can create a video record of people and events that provides a meaningful perspective.
Encourage your child to record the story of a new addition to your family. Depending on his age, he may find babies and pets equally fascinating, especially if he's been asking for a kitten or puppy. As he views the newcomer through the camcorder lens, he can ask you questions about what the baby eats, how the cat can jump high or the dog can hear distant sounds. The recordings themselves provide a treasured record of a growing family and the insights he gains into other people or species enrich his understanding of the world.
Appoint your child the videographer of record at your family's celebration of a holiday, birthday or other milestone event. The importance you place on his contribution can enhance your child's self esteem and confidence. As he directs you to stand by the holiday tree or allow him to shoot close-ups of its ornaments before you position them on the branches, he enhances his media literacy at the same time that he builds a record of how you observe an annual tradition. At an event outside your home, he can capture footage of a reunion, picnic or anniversary. Depending on the type of situation, you may prefer to give him a pocket camcorder with shock and water resistance to withstand outdoor challenges.
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