This weekend in our Family-friendly activities home edition, we want to share how to teach children about business with nine amazing movies.
Can you teach your children about business from a young age? You might think you need to wait until they are much older, but you can get them started early. Rather than wait for them to start their MBA or start their jobs; as a parent, you can turn the fun act of watching movies to teach children about entrepreneurship and business.
Learning in novel ways
Personally, as part of my vision for the children, I am very keen for them to think about entrepreneurship, wealth creation, solving problems and finding innovative ways to do things. While this might seem like big conversations I have realized that when done in a fun way, children can learn so much quite early. Once they have the building blocks it is easier for them to think in a certain way. One of the shows I started watching with them years ago was Shark Tank; you should see the conversations we get into with every episode. The children understand valuation, equity, what makes a good pitch and so much more. Our favourite part is guessing if a Shark will invest in the business or not.
Watching Movies Together
Rather than leaving them to consume movies and shows alone, we can turn that time into quality learning. Whatever a child’s age or interest, there is a movie that can spark their imagination. Watching movies with your children provides a foundation for meaningful conversations about several topics.
“Monsters, Inc.” (5+)
This Pixar animated classic tells the tale of a pair of monster buddies who work in a factory dedicated to scaring children—until their friendship with a human child inspires them to rethink the scaring business.
In the midst of this fun movie, are some great lessons in business ethics and especially in re-evaluating a value proposition.
You can ask your children to identify what the factory was used for during the first part of the movie and then pointed out how that purpose changes at the end. This can be guided to a larger conversation about how companies balance conscience with profit when they decide which products or services to deliver.
“Singin’ in the Rain” (6+)
In between all the singing and dancing (and raining), get the children thinking about navigating technological change: You can ask them if they can think of any inventions that have happened in their life that have been as big as the invention of talking pictures.
Draw their attention to the way the movie characters struggled with technological change. This can then be further used to discuss different strategies for coping with change. You could also reflect on personal and family strategies for learning how to work with new technologies.
“Dolphin Tale” (7+)
After a boy finds an injured dolphin on the beach, he works with an aquarium to help the dolphin heal, but the aquarium itself is soon endangered when the board sells its property to a real-estate developer.
Seeing the dolphin overcome challenges helped us talk about what people with different kinds of abilities and difficulties can bring to the world. You can also talk about how business decisions might affect other people or even wildlife. Challenge your children to think about how companies can handle financial crises and investor accountability.
“Spy Kids” (7+)
This movie is about international espionage, in which a brother and sister discover that their parents are spies and rescue them when they run into trouble.
This movie is a great way to start a conversation about working with family members; and the pros and cons. You could encourage your kids to consider starting a business together.
“Big Miracle” (8+)
When a family of whales gets trapped, they become a focal point for conflict between an oil company, a group of environmentalists and the native Inupiat community.
You can talk about how various parties can earn money without hurting the environment.
“Hidden Figures” (10+)
This movie shares the real-world story of three African-American women who served as human “computers” at the segregation-era National Aeronautics and Space Administration, putting their math and science smarts to work while battling racism.
Discuss racism and how discrimination still affects the workplace today. For example what are different forms of discrimination? a real example could be boys versus girls when it comes to certain subjects in school. Ask them what they would do differently?
You can dig deeper and ask about how employers can avoid discrimination or even racism in the workplace.
The underlying message in the movie about baseball is also about how math plays a part in building a winning franchise using data analysis.
The value of learning math, and how data-driven decision making can give a business a crucial competitive edge.
“We Bought a Zoo” (12+)
The purchase of a zoo shows that it isn’t easy to make a living by looking after wild animals.
The importance of due diligence. You can ask what you need to know before making a decision such as buying a zoo. This can evolve into the questions you would want to ask before starting a new business or investing in somebody else’s. The Shark Tank lessons would come in handy here as well.
“The Pursuit of Happyness” (12+)
Will Smith plays a struggling salesman who is trying to make a go of a business selling medical scanners but winds up homeless with his son while fighting his way back to solvency as an aspiring stockbroker.
Talking about business failure and the concept of risk management. In this movie, the protagonist’s financial woes are tied to his decision to invest his life savings in medical scanners.
You could also talk about the concept of internships and how to work extra hard to stand out. Talk about the importance of work ethic, the stock brokerage industry and how life can throw challenges your way.
We have also watched Self Made; A movie inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. There are so many Business lessons packed in here. Right now during the coronavirus pandemic, with the children at home, you can turn movie watching into an intentional discussion. There are many ways to learn; it is not only about academic learning.