In this family we like to try things.
We have an inherent curiosity and imagination and it spans every generation of my family.
We like to ask questions and then hunt for the answers.
We like to discover and learn.
My favourite thing to hear is my kid saying “MUMMY LOOK! I found something!” or “Mummy, guess what I know!” and as a parent I feel like I’m constantly curating her toy collection and hunting for activities and interactions that nurture that specific kind of natural, organic response.
Not so easy, right?
‘Veenut’ is almost 4 years old, and, aside from Netflix and YouTube, I’ve managed to dodge the internet bullet until now but it works its way in — tons of Vee’s preschool and JK friends already have ‘favourite things to do on the computer’.
That doesn’t mean that they’re on Buzzfeed or making their own memes (Ha! Preschool memes — this could be a thing, folks, I’m totally calling it). But it still feels like logging on to the internet has become a strange new rite of passage.
Vee is fearless. She loves to explore, and I want her to have the confidence, connectivity, and the same thirst for knowledge and discovery online as she does in real life. I also want her first experience to be a safe, inspiring one, and a natural extension of the things she loves.
When Vee does anything for the first time she says:
“This is Vee, and I’m going to show you how to…make a cake/dig a hole/plant a seed…”
She does that because ever since she was tiny we’ve watched the popular ‘This is’ tv series and it has kind of just...stuck. We've mimicked Daniel Cook (who I just found out is Vee’s 2nd cousin — HOW COOL IS THAT?) and Emily Yeung, rock new experiences and learn in an enthusiastic, hands-on, ‘bring-on-the-mess’ kind of way, and Vee just loves it.
Vee also loves the show’s third incarnation, ‘This is Scarlett and Isaiah’ co-produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment and marblemedia.
She’s actually been totally obsessed with the format of the award-winning show and even decided to make her own. No kidding. See?!
It only seemed natural that her first experience navigating the web should be in the ‘This is’ context too, so we headed over to check out the This is Scarlett and Isaiah website.
It was amazing to see her eyes light up.
“This is Vee...and this is me playing a fancy game with my mummy.” She whispered to her imaginary audience as we were welcomed to the site by Isaiah.
“Wow Mummy! Look! I’m going to play with ‘Saiah on the computer!”
Awesome. And that’s all it took. She jumped right in.
I was surprised by the organic and kidcentric usability — without any instruction Vee navigated the site (which is themed after the four seasons) and the graphic hot spots were easy to find.
There was also plenty of room for engagement. The design of the site is obviously centered around parent and kid co-play and interaction. And we could cuddle up with either an iPad —the site is mobile, tablet, and desktop compatible —or the laptop to spend time exploring. It could come with us wherever we went.
I loved that. I was part of the experience too. I wasn’t just on the side-lines watching.
You could also say that I played just as much as Vee did, because the games are super fun.
Dragon Boat Jam was definitely a thumbs-up for both of us because it’s all about music and rhythm, as well as hand-eye coordination.
Earth Hour (which Vee has redubbed ‘Chasing Yellow’) is a game where you learn about Earth Hour and energy conservation – and how to be environmentally conscious by turning off the lights in buildings. This was actually Vee’s favourite game on the entire site.
And when I say ‘favourite’ I mean she wakes me up at 6:30am to play the game.
She also loved that she could collect ‘stickers’ while she played the games and that she could unlock cool videos that taught her all about what Scarlett and Isaiah like.
This site’s content has depth. It takes you places.
“It’s not just what it is, Mummy, it keeps giving,” my kid observes. Awesome.
Something else totally unique and cool (and shareable with friends and family) is that you can actually make your own ‘This is’ episode starring your kid, using your own web cam or any existing footage.
It’s probably a bit easier if your kid actually sits still long enough to grab the kind of snapshot and video clip that’s optimal for upload — and also if they understand what the end result is. All in all it looks like a great activity to do together with your senior preschooler (between 4 -6 years) and a great way to put them in the spotlight.
Of course, after the fun of the site and interacting so much with Scarlett and Isaiah, Vee was inspired, excited...and ready to get back in her own spotlight to make another episode of ‘This is Vee’ in real life.
Do you have a child with an adventurous spirit and insatiable curiosity? Tune into This is Scarlett and Isaiah Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT on Treehouse (Canada) and watch this adventurous duo visit new places and learn about the world.
Parents! You can join in on the fun and find out about upcoming adventures on the This is Scarlett and Isaiah Facebook page.
This past June I got the chance to emcee Social Capital Conference 2013 and it was a HUGE deal for me. It was also the first couple weeks of me taking on a totally new role at home — that super important role of fur mummy!
I can't believe it's been 6 months.
When we took in Rolo — my chocolate lab — he was a lonely 6-month-old pup who couldn’t be left alone for long because of abandonment issues. So, in what seemed like the most natural course of action, Rolo got promoted to my co-host and he zoomed along with us to the social media learnathon in Ottawa.
Now in it’s third year, #SoCapOtt brings together Canadians who are fascinated by the world of social media, blogging, and the ever-evolving technology and platforms through which we communicate.
It’s a great place to schmooze, make friends, expand your knowledge, and have fun.
And it’s even more fun when your dog is along for the ride, especially he’s tweeting about his experiences from his own Twitter account. (Yes. We’re those people. The people who give their dog a digital footprint along with his treats. @Rolomedia is a real thing.)
This month it was Rolo’s birthday and to celebrate my social media savvy fur baby, I'm dedicating this webisode of Trying Times to him. He's brought so much happiness to our lives and continues to teach me life's secrets.
Thanks Rolo, and Happy Birthday.
Enjoy the show! And check out Social Capital Conference for more info about this great event and how you can be a part of it.