A year ago, I would have never imagined that I would be searching for Pokémon classes in Outschool, but my son loves Pikachu and I have learned that this can help him in different ways: from becoming closer to some family members, to practicing reading, and learning math.
I have heard of kids that love Minecraft, Paw Patrol, Frozen, and many others, but I didn’t know what to expect when my oldest one started showing such a special interest for Pikachu, Charmander, Bulbasaur, and all those characters. I never became so attached to a cartoon when I was a child. I’m realizing, loving a cartoon that much could be something positive. We can help our kids focus that interest and turn it into learning experiences.
The first thing I realized, is that watching Pokémon was also giving him a good message about friendship. One time, he was explaining the story to me and said that one of the characters didn’t understand what having a friend meant. That encouraged a conversation between us, we started talking about friendship and how a good friend must be.
He became really interested in the hundreds of Pokémon there are and wanted to learn more about them, so he started asking for book. Now he is practicing reading every day, without me even asking! He carries the books that he has everywhere and takes every spare moment to read about the characters. At night, he asks me to read him pages with a lot of text and he tries to follow along.
Drawing Pokémon has also became one of his big interests. For a kid that didn’t show an interest in drawing when he was in kindergarten, this is important and is helping him with fine motor skills. He is learning that his artwork is a treasure for us, which is encouraging him to do better every time. We have a big display of Pokémon drawings around our house and I’m positive he now knows that his artwork has true value.
You may be asking how this love for Pokémon started and I have to confess that he didn’t discover it casually. My sister and her boyfriend like the game PokémonGo, so she encouraged my mom to download the app and use it as a distraction and a motivation to walk during this pandemic. When we visited my family in Mexico, my son felt encouraged to join them in the game.
Now I must brag about my mom, she has become a really cool grandma for my son. She is becoming a master in the game, so my son turns to her when he has questions and now they have an interest in common that they talk about. They are creating a special bond and I’m thankful for that. I know that not all grandmas will be play video games, but I hope reading this could encourage some to find a common interest with the kids.
My husband also liked Pokémon when he was little, and my mother-in-law kept a lot of things from 25-plus years go. When my son discovered that, he was really excited and happy to be like his dad at that age. I must say, discovering those old toys and cards also brought positive conversations between my son and my mother-in-law. She got nostalgic remembering the past and I’ve watched her smile, thinking about the resemblance between my husband and our son.
I also let my son play PokémonGo with some limitation, he loves it. He is learning to recognize places on a map and is also learning the value of money. Whenever he wants to get something special for his virtual character, like masks or clothes, he knows that he can try to make some “virtual” money. I have seen him work hard, trying to leave one of his Pokémon on a “gym,” hoping nobody takes him out before he gets to save some coins. After getting that virtual money, he must decide to spend it or save it to buy something bigger.
Speaking of money, we are going to start taking advantage of him wanting to buy real Pokémon clothes. We’ll be making some special assignments for him so that he can save some money and buy whatever he wants.
I should not forget about the Pokémon cards which are a hit for many kids. I may not see the fun in collecting cards, but for him it’s something special. Every time he gets to have a package of Pokémon cards, his eyes sparkle discovering the different cards he got. He is learning to organize the cards and this is his first true collection.
Not all kids will like Pokémon but after watching my son for a few months and with everything that I have described here, I have learned that whatever our kids like, we can try to make it something better and use it to our advantage.
I don’t know how much my son’s love for Pokémon will lasts, but for now I will keep looking for opportunities that can help him in life. And as Mewtwo, one of the characters, has said in the series, “I see now that one’s birthday is irrelevant, it’s what you do that determines who you are.”