Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's Better Than Dancing Puppets?*

*Mira would tell you that NOTHING is better than dancing puppets.

Most of you already know that I'm a bad parent who lets her children watch TV. Mira, suffering from second child syndrome, is very familiar with all of the offerings of the TV at only 16 months. Once Cordy was in school, we tried showing her only videos made for her age group, like Baby Einstein, but she had already sampled the older kids shows and while she loves puppets, those puppets moved too slow for her.

When I received the My Baby A to Z - Come Explore Shapes With Me DVD from Parent Bloggers, I worried it would be just as slow and she would have no interest in it. The puppets on the cover looked cute, though, and everything deserves a chance, so we put it in one morning when Cordy was at school to try it out. Cordy is a little smarty pants who already knows all of her shapes, so I decided Mira would be the only test subject.

Mira's attention was immediately captured with the dancing puppets on the title screen. As it started playing, she climbed onto my lap and continued to stare at the screen. The DVD features two puppets who serve as hosts as they explore different kinds of shapes with the audience. It's not too fast or slow paced, but just right to keep toddlers engaged and following along. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with the video, too: the puppets go out into the world and explore to find shapes, asking the children to find the shape, and sometimes asking the children to move their bodies to mimic certain shapes, like the roundness of a circle or the angular nature of a triangle.

Other puppets also join in to help demonstrate the shapes, as well as occasional clips of computerized stick figures creating shapes and playing with them. Mira loved all of the puppets, but she was especially fond of the two primary ones.

My favorite part has to be the occasional moments when the puppets announce "It's time to move!" and then groove to the music. It's a reminder for kids to get up and move instead of sitting passively watching TV. All I can think when they say this is "STOP...Hammer Time!" and I'll confess I'm saying that every time to get Mira to dance along. I love the random dance party segments, and think more videos for children could benefit from move 'n groove time.

Cordy, who is 4 years old, did see the DVD a few times, and she thought the puppets were cute. But as expected, she already knew all the shapes and was pointing them out before the puppets. Like I said - smarty pants. They recommend the DVD for ages 2-5, but a 4 or 5 year old might be beyond the subject matter.

Mira is just at the age where she can learn the subject matter, so this video is perfect for her. She's just beginning to notice different shapes, and My Baby A to Z - Come Explore Shapes With Me helps reinforce what I'm already teaching her. I'd recommend this DVD to anyone with children as young as 15 months. And for adults, I can report that I've seen this several times, and I'm not sick of it yet - a very important measure of a DVD for children.

Win a copy! I've got an extra copy of My Baby A to Z - Come Explore Shapes With Me to give away to one reader. To enter, leave a comment below by the end of the day on October 27, telling me your favorite puppet or muppet from your childhood. (Mine has to be Animal from the Muppets.) One winner will be chosen at random on October 28. Make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. And if you want more chances to win, check out Parent Bloggers - they're giving away 20 more as well!


Liz said...

Puppets are so much fun. We have 1 hand puppet for my son and he loves it. My favorite was always kermit from the muppets. I would like to give this to my son for Christmas. Let me know if I'm the winner. Thanks a bunch!

Mel said...

Oooh! This sounds fun. I loved Red Fraggle, from Fraggle Rock. Actually, all the characters were probably my favorite at the time. But I have specific memories of imitating Red.

~*Liz*~ said...

Hmmm I would have to say my favorite puppet would be Gonzo. What a cutie!


Amelia Sprout said...

People have said I look like Dr. Teeth, but I don't know what they're talking about.
I like Fozzie from the Muppet Show, but my all time favorite has to be Grover. Especially Super Grover.

amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay said...

animal yeah!! But also the swede chef dudes