Thursday, July 30, 2015

To the Great Beyond!

It took a minute to figure out what she was saying. We had just arrived at our camp site and were getting unpacked while Duchess and her best friend were running around the woods shouting at the top of their little lungs.

"To the Great Beyond!"

I knew I'd heard it before. It was from a show Duchess had been watching on Netflix. Dragons: Race to the Edge. It's a Netflix original series based on the movie How to Train Your Dragon. We found this show a while back and, as with all shows, starting watching it together so we could get a sense of what the kids were watching.

While Captain's commentary mostly consisted of yelling "dragons!" intermittently throughout the episode, Duchess was taking much more in. We started talking about the plot line, who the characters were, what their jobs were. It sparked questions and conversations, the way a show should.

When you pick good shows for your kids, you're not just plugging them in. Your finding ways for them to think and question. We love shows that have expansive universes and complex characters. We like to take shows and relate them to our own lives however we can.

The premise of this show is that there's a group of Dragon Riders on a quest to explore their world beyond what has been known for centuries. Based on the movie "How To Train Your Dragon" the main characters have just recently stopped fearing dragons and instead want to learn about them. The Dragon Riders are on a mission to discover new species and new lands. This is such an amazing concept to me as a parent.

These characters are looking at dragons the way scientists look at animals in our own world. Duchess constantly asks about scientists and what they do. They observe. They ask questions. They document what they see, they draw pictures and write notes. We recently took the kids to the local museum to look at dinosaur bones. I gave Duchess a little sketch book and told her to draw what she could see and learn about the things she was looking at.

This hear is a long-neck-o-saurus.

The characters in the show are kind of adorable. There are no "villains" really. Mostly just challenges that the group tackles together. There's no gender division amongst the group. In fact, the most bad-ass character on the show is a girl. The leader himself is not a big, tough viking as his backstory explains. He was the boy that liked to think. And learn. And create. And because of that, he is the leader of a group of explorers.

I love the way she asks about the Dragon Riders' world. They have a blank map that they complete as they discover new islands with new species of dragons. While she knows that there are few parts of our own world that are undiscovered, we take great joy in knowing that her own world at the moment is comparatively very small. And it's just going to get bigger. And we can only hope that all the while she will meet it with excitement and eagerness to learn everything about it.

Our little Dragon Rider.

Ask Your Dad is a part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. Each month we'll be talking about what we're watching with the kids and why. Let us know what you're watching in the comments or on the Ask Your Dad Facebook Page

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