All posts tagged: Children

Content exploring connection to children.

Nintendo's Pikmin

An Alien’s Perspective: Pikmin 1 and 2

I came across the first Pikmin in 2001. At the time, it was the newest video game created by celebrated videogame designer Shigeru Miyamoto. Responsible for some of the most successful gaming franchises of all time, Miyamoto is famous for drawing inspiration from his everyday life to create universally accessible gaming experiences. The Legend of Zelda franchise was inspired by his childhood exploration of the natural environments that surrounded his home. Nintendogs was dreamt up during interactions with his Shetland sheepdog. Wii Fit stemmed from his obsession to weigh himself daily. The Pikmin games have their roots in his fondness for gardening. Synopsis The main plot of the first game has Olimar, a tiny alien astronaut, crash-landing on an alien planet  that is very reminiscent of Earth. Being the size of a thimble, Olimar is in desperate need of assistance to recover the scattered engine parts of his damaged spaceship. He finds allies in indigenous creatures called “Pikmin”, cute plant-animal hybrids that behave like swarms of ants and come to regard Olimar as their leader. …

Children and Environmental Tragedies

My last entry touched briefly on the appropriateness of exposing children to environmental tragedies and injustices. Today, I came across a gem of a passage in an essay by Ursula K. Le Guin. Titled The Child and the Shadow, it explored the importance of myths, fairy-tales, and coming of age stories in confronting the shadow in all of us, represented by the other side of the psyche and is the dark brother of the conscious mind. The particular passage that caught my eye came as Le Guin ruminates on ways to effectively convey difficult and mature subjects to children. She focuses on the notion of evil, which she describes as “all the pain and suffering and waste and loss and injustice we will meet all our lives long, and must face and cope with over and over and over, and admit, and live with, in order to live human lives at all.” The following are her thoughts; I bolded the parts I found most interesting: “But what, then, is the naturalistic writer for children to …

Jim Henson's Dinosaurs Word Cloud

A 90’s Flashback: Dinosaurs’ Changing Nature

Television sitcoms are unlikely sources for meaningful stories about the environment. But there are exceptions. I found one of them in Jim Henson’s Dinosaurs, a puppet show that ran for four seasons from 1991 to 1994. Dinosaurs takes place in 60 million years BC and follows the lives of a typical dinosaur family: Earl Sinclair, father; Fran Sinclair, mother (voiced by Jessica Walters, for all you Arrested Development fans out there); Robbie Sinclair, son; Charlene Sinclair, daughter; Junior Sinclair, aka The Baby; and Grandmother Phillips. The show is a satirized portrayal of the American household; each episode typically features the family dealing with topical issues of the day. The LA Times described the show as a “consistently funny comedy to chew on, the only spot on television where the Mesozoic Era intersects with witty social commentary.” Many regarded the show as a unique blend of The Honeymooners, The Flintstones, and All in the Family. The series finale titled “Changing Nature” revolves around Earl’s irresponsible actions towards the environment, and provided an emotional and lasting experience …

Fight NDD, get your kids outside

I came across a blog post from Quirks and Quarks, a popular Canadian science program, speaking of the benefits of outdoor play for children, and thought it relevant for sharing after my exploration of My Neighbour Totoro. On the detrimental effects of being disconnected from nature: “Statistics in the UK, which are similar to those from North America, show that children are spending twice as much time indoors as previous generations, usually sedentary, in front of television or computer screens. And this is having a negative effect on their health, leading to things ranging from obesity, through nutrition, to mental health problems. And we can’t blame technology. Children are being held indoors more frequently by fearful parents who are less willing to allow their kids to run free in the woods, walk to school or even play in the local neighbourhood.” On the benefits of unstructured outdoor play: “The remarkable thing is that the cost of solving this problem in very low. All they need to do is be allowed to climb trees, chase each …

My Neighbour Totoro Hayao Miyazaki's timeless children film

Children and Nature: My Neighbour Totoro

“Here is a children’s film made for the world we should live in, rather than the one we occupy. A film with no villains. No fight scenes. No evil adults. No fighting between the two kids. No scary monsters. No darkness before the dawn. A world that is benign. A world where if you meet a strange towering creature in the forest, you curl up on its tummy and have a nap.” – Roger Ebert, My Neighbor Totoro review