Welcome to Comics School, Kids (and Adults Too)!
I don’t know about y’all, but I wasn’t planning on homeschooling my kids this year (well, okay, some of you were and sweet baby Jeebus, power to you). I like to think of myself as a creative human but I am most definitely not a teacher and no matter how hard I try to accrue more in my downtime, my patience, and ideas, are limited.
Luckily, my kids inherited the parental love of superheroes (I admit, we steered them in that direction, but now that they’re old enough to choose their fighters, they’ve continued down the path with great aplomb) and DCComicsKids has stepped in to fill a 30–45 minute void each weekday which, while it may not sound like much, has saved my literal life on several occasions over the last couple of weeks.
You do need the internet and social media to access these activities—I’m assuming you have the former if you’re reading this. If you eschew the latter, I 100% understand, though if your kids are into the capes and tights, it may be worth creating an account just to follow the folx giving your voracious spawn engaging activities and you a break in which you might actually have time to reheat your coffee and drink some of it before it cools down again.
The @DCComicsKids Twitter account is posting a variety of activities throughout the day and making certain they vary the types of activities available from day to day so that, over the course of the week, there’s something for everyone. Thus far, I’ve seen puzzles (themed word searches, scrambles based on character names, hero themed mazes), recipes (Bat Signal cookies, Krypto Dogs), art projects (printable coloring pages, instructions for creating a personal superhero crest), and science experiments (Super Sons Rain in a Jar).
The centerpiece of the project, and the part my kids have enjoyed the most, is DC Comics Kid’s Camp, an interactive video series hosted by DCComicsKids graphic novel writers and artists, with new entries posted each weekday at 1:00 PM EST (universal mid-afternoon “we need a break from one another” time)/10:00 AM PST (universal mid-morning “I finally got you going and now I have to keep you going until lunch” time). Each video teaches the kiddos a new skill with the creator going through the activity step by step. None of the videos is longer than 10 minutes, but each has obvious pause points so littles and children who don’t work as fast have a chance to catch up.
Several of the creators have left errors and corrections in the footage not only to show viewers how to fix them but also to demonstrate learning a new skill is 1) a process that 2) takes time, and 3) even when you’ve been doing something for years, you’ll still make mistakes and that’s okay. The creators have also been cognizant of demonstrating different ways of going about the same task: Agnes Garbowska, for example, drew with pencils and pens while Franco used an iPad. That’s important for kids to see since one person’s agonizing Photoshop session may be another’s easy breezy digital fest and vice versa with the old school method. Knowing there’s more than one way of attacking a problem encourages kids to keep trying until they find the way that works best for them rather than given up at the first hint of obstacle.
So far, DC Kid’s camp has given us the opportunity to:
- Craft Superman origami and create a Fortress of Solitude journal with Gene Luen Yang (Superman Smashes the Klan)
- Tell a complete story in a 3 panel comic with Dustin Hansen (My Video Game Ate My Homework)
- Draw the DC Super Hero Girls version of Supergirl with Agnes Garbowska (DC Super Hero Girls: Powerless)
- Learn a magic trick from Matthew Cody (Zatanna and the House of Secrets)
- Draw Tiny Titans Beast Boy with Franco (Tiny Titans, Superman of Smallville)
- and draw original hero Super Charles from Michael Northrup (Dear Justice League)
I’m not sure what’s coming up this week but I have no doubt the activities, and the videos, will continue to be absolutely delightful.
All of the videos are archived on the Twitter account, so if you miss a day or one of the smaller folk want to go back and redo an activity, you can simply scroll through the timeline until you find the one you’re looking for and hit play.
I set up a recurring event in my calendar so I won’t forget to check the @DCComicsKids Twitter (somehow, stuck in the house, I still have a lot going on?) for the daily update, though the kids have gotten pretty good at reminding me when 1:00 PM rolls around (indicative of how much they’ve been enjoying the tutorials). You can sign up for the DCKid’s Camp newsletter here (there are also videos, games, and comics) if email blasts are more your style.
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