Kids in chef hats and aprons pushed mini shopping carts from one side of the room to the other, rushing fearlessly through grocery aisles as they carefully selected play foods to complete the challenge. As they chose between grilled chicken, pasta, salad, and fruit, they worked in teams to create nutritious meals and learn budgeting basics. This summer, PBS SoCaL hosted the fun and interactive activity called Order Up! to engage kids ages 7-9 even further in learning.
PBS SoCaL held the events at their Ready To Learn partner sites, the Boys and Girls Club of Tustin and Project Access at the Vista Angelina Apartments in Los Angeles. These high energy events were designed for participants to connect their online play with active play experiences. Based on Kart Kingdom’s mini-game Fizzy’s Food Truck, this event introduced kids to a game where they became chefs in charge of fulfilling customer’s orders. This was a perfect opportunity to reinforce the familiar role in Order Up! and to extend the lessons learned from the online game to active play.
By working in teams to complete the real-life challenge, participants learned collaboration and developed a deeper understanding of food groups, calories, and budgeting. For the event hosted at Project Access, parents who participated also assisted their teams in math. This was an opportunity to open conversations about nutrition and math with their kids.
Transforming Kart Kingdom, the PBS KIDS virtual world, into a fun, educational reality provided an opportunity for stimulating hands-on learning for children. As technology becomes an increasing part of children’s lives with the surge in TV shows, apps, and games, it is ever more important to find an appropriate balance of online play and hands-on experiential learning. Using engaging tools like these online games, along with parent involvement and real-life activities, provides great academic benefit for children. Blending these approaches opens the door to teaching moments between parents and children that can enhance math and literacy skills.