Family Fun, Inspired by Reality TV

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It seems like there are a million reality shows on TV these days. For the most part, we try to steer our kids clear of them. There’s no reason for our kids to know what ‘real housewives’ are up to, what happens at the Jersey Shore, or whom the most-recent bachelor or bachelorette sent home. But, admittedly, not all reality shows are bad.

When our kids were ready to branch out from cartoons, we wanted to find a TV show to enjoy together that wasn’t too mature-themed for our youngest. But, we also wanted something that still held interest for the rest of us.

We discovered the TV show ‘Shark Tank.’ If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, entrepreneurs present their fledgling businesses in front of an audience of five potential investors, or ‘sharks.’ If contestants are successful, they could walk away with a deal that could propel their business forward. Or, they may walk away empty-handed.

When these TV contestants consider potential offers, we at home weigh-in on what sort of deal we would offer, or what we would look for if it were our company in the Tank. It’s interesting to hear how ideas are presented; it’s also fun to listen to everyone’s perspective. For us, it’s more than just a fun show; it’s edutainment for the whole family.

Recently when relatives visited, we played our own version of the game. Half of us were people looking for investors, and the rest were ‘sharks.’ The made-up businesses were silly concepts, like a toilet plunger that folded flat on a shower wall, a Bluetooth-type ear bud that would print images that the device-wearer imagined, a sensor to detect carbon monoxide inside a vehicle’s trunk, and a company that provided seatbelts on busses. The game had three generations of family playing and laughing together, making memories over made-up products – all thanks to reality TV.

One day, I happened to overhear my kids playing there own version of ‘Shark Tank’, where one child presented her made-up product idea, to her sister, the shark. The product was something that only a nine-year-old could envision – the fart-sucker. Much like on TV, our shark asked how the idea for the product came about. The product and it’s backstory were super silly, but it got them talking about some of the basic business concepts they had learned from the TV show.

Amid much giggling, they spent time playing together, using their imaginations, without a TV or iPad screen in sight. They even came up with a product extension, the burp-sucker, in case you’re looking for an investment opportunity.

Gabe Arnold
Author: Gabe Arnold