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Family Activities
"Interactive" TV

One of the biggest complaints about television is that it's a passive activity that does not actively engage young people's minds. You can use the power of television and its characters to engage your child's mind in role-play, problem-solving, and reading readiness. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Pick a favorite TV show—for example, PBS Kids' Arthur. Then, go online or use your local TV listings to find out what the day's program will be about. Here's a sample description from the PBS site:

    Arthur's Mystery Envelope
    When Mr. Haney gives Arthur a sealed envelope to take home, Arthur fears the worst.

  2. Read your child the show's description and start guessing what will happen in the story. In the example above, you and your child might guess what's in Arthur's mystery envelope.

    You can role-play some of the characters in the story as Arthur walks home and talks to his friends about the mystery envelope. To make the role-play more fun, have your child draw Arthur and his friends' faces on paper plates, stick them on craft sticks, and use them as character masks as you talk about what could be in the envelope. Or go to the Arthur Web site and print out the characters' faces to glue onto the paper plates.

  3. Finally, watch the show together and compare what really happens to what you "invented." Was your show better? Funnier? More true to your life?
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Updated on 4/5/2013