Have you ever heard someone say, “Dang it! I hate it when entertainment tricks you into learning something!” If you grew up watching shows like Sesame Street or Bill NYE the Science Guy, visiting museums, or playing games, guess what: the joke is on you. Edutainment is exactly what it sounds like; educational entertainment.
That definition is what I keep telling myself as my excuse for recently purchasing a Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s most recent video game console. I am learning a second language, and plan to play games on the Switch in Japanese. My hope is I can take something I really enjoy and kill two birds with one stone.
Not everyone may be interested in playing video games or learning another language, but there are other ways as an adult you can educate yourself and enjoy yourself:
Video – Instead of watching another superhero movie, you can watch documentaries. I also recommend YouTube as a great free source for endless knowledge. From learning science principals to visiting another country, there’s some quality content if you look hard enough. Just avoid the cat videos.
Audio – BBC and NPR both qualify – but for some, it might not be as entertaining! If that’s the case, I recommend podcasts like TED Radio Hour (which talks about themes from recent TED Talks), or RadioLab that combines the studies of science, philosophy, and human nature.
Go Somewhere – Nothing is better than being in person. Visit National Parks, botanical gardens, and other public places you might not normally go. For me visiting the Eastern State Penitentiary with my mom and learning about both the 19th century penitentiary and modern prison systems is still a highlight of my year.
Play Games – Whether tabletop or digital, games are the genre for fun problem solving. For younger minds they help teach the construct of rules and planning ahead. For us older learners, they help keep our brains sharp! If you have no one to play with I suggest downloading some single player games on your phone. Sudoku might have more educational substance than Fortnite, but it’s better than scrolling on social media.
We are fortunate to have so many outlets to learn. So next time you sit down in front of the television, think about turning on How It’s Made instead of your routine drama. Personally I’ll be too busy playing the Switch, because who says learning can’t be fun?
Doug Lang Play Expert