Toy manufacturers have outdone themselves with all those big bright plastic shapes and colors. I suspect that, long before children can speak, they are bored with the garish simplicity of them all. They are born with a capacity and appetite for nuance, detail and patterns. Let’s feed that hunger.
One of the earliest ways children express their individuality is by picking their favorite color. Although we know those preferences are often culturally driven, nonetheless they take great pride in declaring choices.
Then it gets complicated quickly. In this loudly visual world – video games, publications, billboards, icons – our children are constantly exposed to cultural messages about sexuality, weight and how to be popular, to name a few. They are vulnerable to this onslaught because their need to belong and to be loved is great. As parents we need to help our children discern and quiet these forces.
By digging into the basics of visual literacy, we can help our children navigate in a more informed way. Concurrently they can learn to leverage the power of their visual world to better communicate their own stories. Let’s get started.