26 January 2009

Entertain your kids with e-card "movies" instead of DVDs

From Amy:

I'm generally of the "no electronic media before age two" mindset. Heck, how about no media for as long possible, right? BUT (there's always a but) along the way, there have been moments when some new entertainment was in order -- and none of the videos on the market appealed to me. I wondered if there were anything out there that was very short, visually pleasing, and extremely simple (no complex plot, not too many characters, etc).

Then, my daughter's grandmother happened to send her a Jacquie Lawson e-card, and after watching it myself, I thought my daughter would love it. I was right! We've now marked several of these in the Jacquie Lawson gallery (they're free and no registration is required to view them). The best part is, the animations are generally no longer than a minute; they are extremely simple, very pretty, and completely without mass-marketed characters -- or commercials! They also have no voice over (just music), so there's an opportunity to narrate an open story. My daughter is now old enough to tell me what she thinks "the bear in the boat" or the "stirring wooden spoon" might do next. I think they're a great alternative to the usual commercial DVDs!

Related: Turn to YouTube for toddler entertainment

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I never understand the "no media for as long as possible" thing. My daughter comes home from school one day to tell us that there was a demonstration of "people from Japan playing drums." She seemed to like it. So I bring up YouTube, search "taiko dojo", and show her some people who are really good at that. Naturally her 4yr old sister and 2yr old brother, who do not get to see such demonstrations at school, are fascinated by the chance to see it on video.

Similar experience when one of them, can't remember which, came home from dance lessons saying she wanted to learn Irish step dancing. Hello youtube and riverdance.

In both cases perhaps I could have gotten a book on the subject (but that would have missed out on the multisensory experience of seeing/hearing it), or gone out to rent a video -- but why bother when you can get the video in just a few seconds right at the breakfast table?

I love YouTube for music videos and old silent movie bits. My 2 yr old daughter LOVES Charlie Chaplin's "the kid" and the clips are beteween 2-3 minutes. Enough time for me to go to the bathroom, put on some makeup or whatever. We also watch music videos (like Feist 1-2-3-4, old 80s videos, etc) and she loves to get up and dance along.

My kids love the Hoops & Yoyo cards on the Hallmark site. I do, too. They are FUNNY! :)

It's all about moderation, right?

Using a TV to raise your kids is a bad idea, agreed. But a little TV here and there can't be a bad thing.

Our little guys (18mths & 3mths) watch Sesame Street's "Do the Alphabet" once a day and they love it. That's all the TV they get and it's 30 minutes well spent. Lots of singing, dancing, and they're learning the alphabet too!

One more thing, check out Dr Suess's ABCs in a (poor?) Jamaican accent. That book will never be the same for me. :)


Nothing like the electronic nipple for babysitting!

Can't expect us to be moms all the time, right?

My Bug LOVES Jacquie Lawson's bears! Just today, she sat happily on my lap to watch 4 of them over and over and over...

She's loves talking about the adventures as they unfold before her eyes!

I let my 15-month-old daughter watch an entire ONE-HOUR episode of Sesame Street every day.

I am just putting that out there for other parents who may feel guilty that they are ignoring the venerable American Association of Pediatrics recommendation that kids under two should not watch any TV.

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