TED Talks’ tagline is “ideas worth spreading.” Since 2006, TED Talks has recorded almost 50,000 short talks of less than 18 minutes presented on a stage at live events. The best have gone viral, watched by millions around the world.
Why are these short presentations so popular, and why should you share them with your kids? Author Carmine Gallo of Talk Like TED explains that the most popular talks are emotional, novel, and memorable. The presenters “connect with audiences on a deeply emotional level primarily because they’re storytellers.”
Why You Should Listen to TED Talks with Your Kids
Our job as parents is to prepare our children to go into the world independently. We provide them with opportunities, encourage their interests, and are their best cheerleaders so they can lead productive, successful, and fulfilled lives. And when they stumble, we assure them they are not alone and that it is part of the learning process.
Inspire and Expand on Their Interests
TED Talk presenters’ enthusiasm for their subjects is infectious. Suppose your child has a budding interest in a subject. Watching someone else’s excitement, ideas, and achievements may be the spark to create an everlasting passion of their own. Exposure to various ideas might be the key to unlocking it for kids who haven’t yet found what lights them up.
Impart and Reinforce Life Lessons
Ever feel like a broken record wondering if you’re getting through to your children? Sometimes the messages we wish to impart to our children are better received from others. This could be because they have better delivery, an impactful story to tell, or just because they are not us, the parents.
Show Them Positive Role Models
Some of the best TED Talks are presentations by kids. They demonstrate incredible poise, effective communication skills, dedication, and confidence. Watching these young students of life speak may encourage your kids to strive for their own greatness.
Best TED Talks for Kids
Your kid may have interests ranging from bees to rocket science. So, one of the best ways to start looking for TED Talks is to search the website by subject. Look for warnings of mature content and watch the video first to ensure it is age-appropriate for your child. You may also find curated lists for kids on specific topics like these:
- 14 Inspirational TED Talks for Art Teachers & Students
- TED Talks for Young Writers
- 9 Engineering TED Talks to Watch Now
Looking for TED Talks on specific life lessons?
- Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit: The power of passion and perseverance shares how “grit,” a combination of passion and persistence, is the best indicator of success.
- Mark Bezos: A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter teaches that even the most minor acts of heroism can make a huge difference.
- Reshma Saujani: Teach girls bravery, not perfection provides research and evidence on how society is teaching girls the wrong lessons and what we can do about it.
- Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation engagingly gives simple ways to improve our communication skills from what she’s learned from her career as a radio host.
- William Kamkwamba: How I harnessed the wind discusses his story of overcoming hardships of poverty and famine with his impactful invention.
- Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership inspires viewers to think of themselves as leaders.
- Aimee Mullins: The opportunity of adversity explains how our obstacles might be just the thing that leads to our achievements through her personal story of being a paralympic athlete.
Sometimes, a TED Talk can be a helpful introduction to tough conversations. This list, Talks that explain difficult topics to kids, includes talks on bullying, suicide, menstruation, and speaking up against intolerance.
Possibly nothing is more inspiring than listening to other kids who take the stage to share their achievements, ideas, and inspiration. Here are some of the best:
- Tavi Gevinson: A teen just trying to figure it out is from a 15-year-old who created an online space for teens to talk about fashion and modern feminism.
- Thomas Suarez: A 12-year-old app developer discusses how he created an app and now teaches other kids to do the same.
- Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose + Naomi Shah: Award-winning teenage science in action is from three teenage girls who share their science experiments and lessons learned.
- A 12-year-old learns to scare lions: Richard Turere is Richard’s story about the solar-powered solution he designed to scare the lions away safely.
- Yup, I Built a Nuclear Fusion Reactor: Taylor Wilcon is a 14-year-old’s story about building a nuclear fusion reactor; at 17, he is a nuclear researcher who has met the president.
- How a kids movement can save our planet is from 13-year-old Shalise, who shares her belief that young people must join forces and take environmental challenges into their own hands.
- Kids Against Plastic | Amy & Ella Meek is from the founders of Kids Against Plastics, who explain the environmental hazards of plastics and encourage us to get involved.
This last list, Advice to help you be a great parent, is not necessarily one to watch with the kids, but it will continue to inspire you to be the best parent you can be.