One of our favorite parts of summer is all of the “talk” time we have with our children. These conversations are incredibly powerful learning opportunities for everyone. To illustrate, here are a few examples from just last night:
We learned how to play a new game, Talisman, by having our two older boys explain the rules and general strategy - and then continue to mentor as the game went on. This process helped them reinforce their understanding of the game and involved the use of a sophisticated vocabulary.
At dinner, we used a different type of language as we shared stories (started by Grandma Chris!) about teeth and cavities. As our children gained a deeper understanding of the stories and the jokes within the stories they added their own twist to them, leading to great creativity and laughter.
At bed time Jason read a Tin-Tin book aloud to our 5yo. While our 9yo is reading young adult chapter books on his own, he lay down to listen as well. Listening to the language of a book out loud is different than reading it yourself, and sometimes leads to an interesting conversation that does not occur in a solo read.
One of the amazing things about conversation is that it is unpredictable. Our brains work in mysterious ways and you never quite know what connections it will make, much less the connections being made with others we are conversing with. It’s been voiced that conversation is a dying art, as in this NY Times article. But it’s definitely one that can be revived relatively easily. There’s even a wikiHow page for “How to Have a Great Conversation” - try reading it with your kids/friends and practice as you go!
Storytelling can be a little scary at first - as adults we worry that we have no idea what we are doing (because we have no idea what we are doing), but our children don’t see it that way. They love stories! And they get that whatever we do with the story is ok. StoryCorps is a fun website (and app) to browse for fun “real” stories to listen to and share. And if you want to pursue storytelling even further, the National Storytelling Network and the Center for Digital Storytelling provide a ton of resources for storytellers of all kinds.
We still have plenty of summer left - take some time to mix it up. Talk with the kids about all sorts of things, with different people, in different situations. Maybe add in a little storytelling. Enjoy where the conversation takes you.
With love and joy,
Jason and Amy
To Do List
1. Tweet a joyful moment to #JLNjoy
2. Post to the JLN Facebook page
3. Send in your favorite videos/books/organizations, tips, and ideas
4. Talk about joyful learning at least once in the next week to someone new
5. Tell a friend about the Joyful Learning Network ;)
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