Working hard and playing hard are both equally at the same time. This applies to adults as well as our kids.
In this day and age, our fast paced lifestyle means we are constantly forced to multi-task. As such, our attention span on a single task is greatly decreased. Time is also always a rushing factor because there’s just so much to do in so little time!
This fast-paced lifestyle has shortened our kids’ attention span even more and educators are always looking for new and effective ways to reach out to students.
One approach is creating the right mix of education with entertainment and presenting it to the kids; in the form of edutainment.
What is edutainment? What does it do? How does it work? Believe it or not, edutainment is not an entirely new concept. Here’s a simple example of an edutainment activity:
Remember when you were a kid going on school excursions? Instead of spending the day in a classroom, you and your friends took a trip to a farm, the zoo or a discovery centre. You got to see, feel, listen and learn about something new. You might have even watched a skit put up to spread an important message. It made you feel excited about learning. It was even fun!
The term “edutainment” is not new. In fact it comes from the computer industry. It is used to describe CD-ROM programs mainly designed for educating children but also has a fun entertainment aspect to it.
As you can see, edutainment is not restricted to just one form. A school excursion, a computer game, watching a puppet show or even a film can be used as edutainment. TV shows such as Dora the Explorer or the evergreen Sesame Street are great examples of popular edutainment programs.
Edutainment allows children to learn through play. The key thing about edutainment is that it allows children to learn through leisure or play activities. Children naturally want to explore and manipulate their environment to make their own discoveries.
Studies into early childhood development have shown that children at preschool level learn best through their own play activities rather than in a structured setting, such as school classes. As such, many pre-schools are aware that open-ended play is in fact the best approach for children to learn and develop socially, physically and mentally.
Parents and educators can practice edutainment at home and in school by ‘sneaking in’ entertainment or fun into teachings. This can be the form of creating skits, role playing, solving fun puzzles or infusing songs and dance into a lesson.
Edutainment on Stage
One form of edutainment is live stage shows that help to spread positive messages in a fun way. Key messages are customized or incorporated into stage performances that often use creative mediums and interactive tools.
Many multi-national corporations and organizations today are also using edutainment on stage as a tool to spread a positive message to young students. Professional production companies are engaged to create creative shows that are effective and help reach objectives. For example in Singapore, the Health Promotion Board utilized two custom-created puppet & magic shows to spread the importance of good dental hygiene and harmful effects of smoking. The Fire Safety Prevention Council also commissioned a puppet show to highlight to students the importance of fire safety and prevention.
If you are an educator, parent or organization looking to instill positive values or communicate an important message to children, consider edutainment as an innovative approach.